Spreading over 20,000 km2 in Southwestern Cambodia, the Cardamom Mountain Range runs along Thailand’s border. The area is home to the second-largest virgin rainforest in Southeast Asia, which is under significant pressure from illegal logging and poaching.

Wildlife Alliance was founded in 1995 by a group of American and British conservationists under the name Global Survival Network, and reorganized in 1999 as WildAid. The organization restructured itself again in 2006, dividing the organization’s programs between two organizations – a new separate WildAid conducting the Active Conservation Awareness Program, Shark Conservation, and Galapagos Islands programs and Wildlife Alliance conducting field operations in Southeast Asia and Russia. The preservation work undertaken is in association with the Cambodian Ministry of the Environment and assists them in the enforcement of the Protection of Biodiversity law.

The cost of keeping the Cardamom Mountains rainforest standing is constant vigilance. Wildlife Alliance manages 10 ranger stations that carry out more than 4000 patrols covering around 140,000 km every year. Without their direct protection, the Cardamom Mountains are at risk of being cleared for conversion to agriculture, industry, and real estate sales. Wildlife Alliance’s approach has proven successful in maintaining continuous rainforest cover, achieving zero elephant poaching since 2006, as well as supporting the recovery of populations of ungulates and small-medium carnivores.

Dedicated law enforcement rangers patrol the Cardamom Mountains by ground, water, and air. Each station is on alert 24 hours a day and often spend days at a time camping in remote areas of the forest in pursuit of illegal loggers and poachers. They remove snares; confiscate illegal timber and chainsaws; dismantle illegal charcoal kilns, sawmills and poachers’ camps; halt illegal land encroachment; and rescue wildlife from poachers.

The greatest threat facing biodiversity in Southeast Asia is hunting. While many hunting methods are used, the predominant method is homemade snares. Snares are like landmines for animals — every snare is a potential death sentence — and almost every species can fall victim to them, from pangolins to elephants. Made from rope or wire, snares are inexpensive to make and easy to set up meaning they can be laid over the course of kilometers in just a short period, forming walls of death. In addition to deterring poachers from setting snares, Wildlife Alliance rangers have removed approximately 250,000 from the Cardamom Mountains Rainforest, potentially saving the lives of thousands of animals.

Wildlife Alliance facilitates zoning and demarcation of land for local communities so families can claim enough land for permanent agriculture or other livelihoods. This is a participatory process that represents the first step in engaging communities in the responsible management of their natural resources. The rangers install visible markers on the ground so everyone can clearly see where the agreed boundaries are. This achieves two benefits: it provides the local communities with clear land ownership and also provides clear boundaries for the strictly protected rainforest.

According to eco-act.com and wildlifealliance.org