Wildlife Alliance Celebrates Zero Poaching

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WWF Cambodia was able to capture footage of a group of elephants in the Tonle Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary. Supplied

To celebrate World Elephant Day today, the conservation group Wildlife Alliance (WA) celebrated its achievement of zero poaching of the Cardamom Rainforest’s Asian elephant population in the last decade, according to a press release on Wednesday.
 
The press release noted that the rainforest was a poaching hotspot in the early 2000s, with 37 wild Asian elephants being poached from 2000 to 2006.
 
Beginning in 2002, WA began cooperating with the government to enforce the law and patrol the forest. As a result, since 2006, more than 140,000 traps were removed and 300 offenders were sent to court.
 
Suwanna Gauntlett, chief executive officer of WA, is proud of her organization’s success in reducing elephant poaching to zero in the last decade.
 
“Achieving zero elephant poaching for more than a decade
 
in the Cardamoms is a fantastic achievement and demonstrates that investing in law enforcement is the best way to achieve conservation results,” Ms. Gauntlett said in a press release.
 
“However, to maintain this success more forest rangers need to be deployed on the ground and laws prohibiting hunting of protected species, including with snares, need to be strengthened,” added Ms. Gauntlett.
 
The Cardamom forest covers more than two million hectares of tropical rainforest in southwest Cambodia. The newly created 410,000-hectare Southern Cardamom National Park gives more space for wild elephants.
 
Say Samal, the Minister of Environment, told WA that to maintain elephant poaching at zero, adequate rainforest management was needed.
 
“To maintain zero poaching and preserve the rainforest we need to ensure effective management of the wider Cardamom rainforest landscape and align efforts across the protected areas.
 
“Protecting the Cardamoms and its elephant population is protecting Cambodia given the role of elephants in maintaining healthy forest and the role of healthy forest in maintaining healthy people,” said the minister.
 
According to Chhith Sam Ath, country director of WWF-Cambodia, the loss of Asian elephants in Cambodia was due to hunting and deforestation.
 
“The major threats to the wildlife in Cambodia are poaching and the loss of their habitat. Monitoring species population trends is crucial for assessing current conservation and can assist key decision makers in conserving these important populations through evidence based results,” said Mr. Sam Ath.
 
On Wednesday, European Union Ambassador to Cambodia George Edgar asked the government to reconsider the construction of a planned road through the protected forest in Mondulkiri province.
 
“The proposed road will affect the core of the last remaining resource and risk losing the natural resources – including endangered wildlife,” the ambassador said.

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