This is a photo and video account of my day with Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia… I was able to visit 2 of Wildlife Alliance’s projects: preventing illegal poaching through ranger patrol and re-foresting destroyed land while empowering and educating local citizens on the importance of protecting and living off of the environment. It was an exciting visit facilitated by knowledgable, committed, and passionate staff.
I received a formal full-military salute and welcome to the Ranger facilities. Currently the patrol stations are strategically placed along the water transport and road transport areas, but with increased control, those who are willing to break the law are trying to find creative ways to avoid the authority of Wildlife Alliance.
Confiscated motorbikes from poachers – for example when they are caught taking out a protected wood that is worth a LOT on the market … risking class 1 misdemeanor and thrown into jail immediately.
The Rangers and Me - I asked one of the rangers what brought him to Wildlife Alliance, and he said his “love of forest, animals, and conservation.” I responded if he was not with WA where would he be – and he said he was previously with the Cambodian Royal Embassy Military.
Patrolling the jungle and “Viper Valley” for poachers and illegal activity, ambushing culprits, and releasing trapped endangered animals back to their homes – all in a normal day with Wildlife Alliance’s Rangers.
Coming across a fishing boat – checking for illegally stored animals/plants
One of the newer rangers manning the boat and Eddie
Past the ecotourism village and the windy roads lined by houses now growing sustainable farming (not slash-and-burn farming) thanks to Wildlife Alliance, deep into the forest and over a small river – we arrived at the re-forestation nursery and staff house. There we were welcomed by the 2 live in staff overseeing the re-forestation – Annette and Ariel. They were warm and welcoming sharing stories and experiences, along with challenges and hopes for the project and living so far separated from the city.
Next morning arrival of the nursery workers from the local town – this is a typical mode of transportation for workers here in Cambodia
Preparing the locally sourced (scavenged, tested, and researched from the local forest) seeds for planting
Misting the babies/seedlings
Once the seedlings have graduated, they are moved to larger plant holdings under the shade-nets
With Wildlife Alliance Staff at the Nursery
At the time there were 22 workers but I was told that during planting season there could be as many as 80 – all from local villages. It was wonderful to learn that the villagers felt invested in the land that they previously used to burn and take from, now working to create and plant back into. This program was changing the mentality for local villagers because they now could identify with not only the hard work that went into re-creating the forest but also taking care of it and sustaining… with a reward of all the fruits and vegetables it could provide. And what’s more- once these were planted… the land became officially protected even by government from development and destruction. So far this project has plotted over 37,000 trees and almost 500 hectares to date.
To learn more about the nursery click here.
To learn more about the Ranger program click here.
GlobalGiving InTheField Representative | Texas
Jacqueline is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving and is now making her way across Southeast Asia. Jacqueline has lived all around the U.S., Central America, backpacked along Australia’s eastern coast while volunteering for the National Park Service, western Europe, and traveled around the world. You can also follow her via Twitter.
For more information about GlobalGiving, click here.