Even though the illegal wildlife trade still poses a huge threat to many species – the Wildlife Alliance has taken on the mission of coming to the aid of these victimized animals. Over 10 years ago, the organization’s rescue and enforcement unit began investigating suspected perpetrators of wildlife crime – and rescuing animals from the clutches of these lawbreakers. Rescued animals that are healthy and able to survive in the wild are immediately released in appropriate habitats, but those that are sick, injured, habituated, or prematurely orphaned may require long-term care and veterinary treatment.
Enter the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC). Located deep in the heart of a regenerating forest, this facility was created by the Cambodian government specifically for caring for wildlife victimized by the illegal wildlife trade. It provides a refuge for over 1,200 rescued wild animals, including endangered Asian elephants, Indochinese tigers, pileated gibbons, long-tailed macaques, Siamese crocodiles, and many others. Recent funding from the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has helped the Center to obtain additional veterinary training which has improved care for these rescued animals and maximized the survival rate of those suitable for release.
However there is still much work to be done. The success of these release programs requires ensuring the integrity of the surrounding Phnom Tamao Protected Forest. With the help of the Wildlife Alliance, three teams of rangers are strategically located throughout the forest to provide direct protection from poachers, illegal loggers, land encroachment, or human-wildlife conflicts.
Wildlife Alliance also manages projects protecting almost two million acres of forest in the Koh Kong Province in Southwestern Cambodia, with programs addressing forest protection, zoning and habitat conservation plans, relevant community livelihood and education needs, and wildlife rehabilitation and release.
These programs are interrelated, and are geared toward preserving the diverse array of Southeast Asia’s wildlife and forest habitats. The SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund has supported the Wildlife Alliance on a number of projects since 2008 and is pleased to take part in these valuable efforts.