I’ve had an email from Fauna and Flora International (FFI) about an impending crisis that is about to get catastrophically worse.
The beautiful Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia are being covered in snares.
FFI say that the snares are shredding through clouded leopards, ripping elephant trunks in half and snapping the limbs of their calves. Pangolins, sun bears, moon bears and indeed any mammal than a mouse are being badly impacted, as any animal larger than a mouse can be trapped in these cruel snares.
To make matters worse, FFI’s project funding in the area has fallen through. FFI patrol teams are still able to operate in some areas and maintain an effective resistance. A very generous donor has enabled them to remove countless snares – and so save many, many animals. FFI had hoped to extend the areas that they were covering.
Unfortunately, the donor is unable to continue their support – and FFI must fill a £92,345 hole.
If FFI cannot fund the project, the warden leaders won’t be able to pay their patrol teams’ wages – and any who have the means won’t be able to have equipment and the backing to mount and maintain an effective resistance.
Funds will be spent on boots, machetes, camping gear, hammocks, rucksacks and everything wardens need to wear as they go out on one patrol after another. The wardens need GPS kits, patrol mapping – and they need to be paid.
FFI say time is short.
What’s so important about the Cardamom Mountains? Well, they have dense rainforest, mangroves and wetlands – and they have more than 60 globally threatened animal species and 17 globally threatened trees. The Cardamom Mountains matter. These include:
- Asian elephants
- Sun bears
- The clouded leopard,
- Dholes, a type of wild dog
- The Sunda pangolin
These snares are CRUEL – as the metal clasp tightens, causing the animal terrible pain. The more they struggle, the tighter the snare gets, cutting more and more deeply into flesh and bone. It is a terribly cruel and painful way to die.
At the same time, the animals have lost their habitat, because of illegal logging, land encroachment and unsustainable agricultural ways of doing things. Over 10% of the forest has gone in 15 years So the animals find themselves in smaller spaces, into what is known as a “wall of death”, because it is easy for them to get trapped by a snare.
Enter the wardens. They are from the local communities and they cover over 100km every month, spotting and removing snares, watching for any signs of illegal poaching or logging, and undertaking biomonitoring and data-gathering activities. These activities are important because they give a better understanding of the wildlife in the area, and enable the right decisions to be made about how to help them.
Wardens also help by supplying the human-wildlife conflict teams with flashlights and noise-makers. These can help deter elephants from the boundaries of farms and villages, so preventing damage to crops and property. These things make a huge impact – there have been no retaliation elephant killings since the wardens started such work.
The warden team is essential to protect the animals of the Cardamom Mountains.