Located in the Indo-Burmese peninsula, an internationally recognized biodi­versity hotspot, the Cardamom Mountain Range is one of Cambodia’s most important watersheds and carbon sinks, home to 16 critically endangered species, and one of Asia’s last seven remaining elephant corridors. Wildlife Alliance provides direct protection to 720,000 hectares (1.7 million acres) of tropical forest in the Southern Cardamoms and addresses the local drivers of deforestation through:

  • zoning and demarcation of protected forestland;
  • advocacy at all levels of government to cancel agro-industrial and mining land concessions;
  • development of alternative livelihoods in agriculture, ecotourism, and reforestation for poor landless farmers who previously subsisted on envi­ronmentally destructive practices;
  • support for environmental policy development and law enforcement.

Through increased involvement of the communities in habitat management as well as par­ticipatory forest patrolling, Wildlife Alliance is actively repairing and regen­erating degraded forest. To date, Wildlife Alliance has secured the cancellation or reduction of 36 land concessions, preserving vital habitat that is essential for the preservation of Asian elephants worldwide.

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Wildlife poaching and the illegal wildlife trade are widely associated with the decline of globally threatened mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. These creatures are hunted, smuggled, and sold both inside Cambodia and across its borders to regional neighbors and further afield to China. International commercial trade into Vietnam and elsewhere is the driving factor behind the decline in wild populations of most species in Cambodia’s forests and habitat. In response to the dire situation, Wildlife Alliance formulated a comprehensive solution to stop the supply and trade of illegal wildlife.

The Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team was launched in 2001 and immediately gained recognition as one of Asia’s foremost wildlife law enforcement operations. Relying on a team of informants, an anonymous tip line, and the law enforcement credentials of the Military Police and Forestry Administration, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team has dramatically curtailed the availability of wildlife in markets and restaurants of Phnom Penh and other major cities, and apprehended approximately 3,000 serious wildlife criminals. Since its creation, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team has conducted over 5,000 undercover operations, resulting in the rescue of more than 61,000 live animals and the confiscation of 30 tons of wildlife products, meats, and other contraband. 

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The overriding goal of every wildlife rescue operation is to be able to release rescued animals back into the wild. However, animals unable to fend for themselves are taken to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center for rehabilitation and recov­ery.  At Phnom Tamao, Wildlife Alliance provides refuge and care for over 1,200 rescued wild animals, including 4 endangered Asian elephants, tigers, pileated gibbons, Siamese crocodiles, Sunda pangolins and many other species. A team of specialists oversees animal care and medical treatment and ensures that wildlife enclosures are suitable for animals to thrive, breed, and successfully raise their own young. Elephants living at Phnom Tamao have been victims of human-elephant conflict, wildlife trafficking, illegal pet trade or habitat loss. They each have a unique story to share. Meet the Rescued Elephants →

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