Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team

The WRRT at work rescuing animals from a small Zoo

The WRRT at work rescuing animals from a small Zoo

Continuing on with the wet season activities, I’m still damn well stuck behind a computer editing like crazy. Almost finished the REDD film and I just finished the third of five short films for Wildlife Alliance. This was about the work of the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team. The team is made up of Forestry Administration officers and military police and is coordinated by Wildlife Alliance.

Rescued bears being treated having lost paws to snares

Rescued bears being treated having lost paws to snares

This horrific footage of two Asiatic Black Bear cubs being rescued, was taken by Lesley Pearlman of Wildlife Alliance. Sadly this is all too common. Both of these animals were mutilated by snares… both losing a paw. They join an ever increasing list of amputees at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, like Chhouk the baby elephant and several other bears.

These guys do a great job and since it was set up in 2001 they have rescued almost 40,000 wild animals and apprehended 1,900 wildlife traders.

A Bintarong being loaded onto a truck to be taken to Phnom Tamao. This was one of hundreds of animals that had to be relocated from Angkor Zoo. These included several highly stressed bears, which were sharing a tiny cage; crocodiles living in filthy water and one very sad gibbon sitting all alone in a cage head-banging as he slowly went stir crazy.

Loading a Bintarong for the journey to Phnom Tamao

Loading a Bintarong for the journey to Phnom Tamao

I do get sick of seeing this stuff, it never ceases to amaze me why people want bears or other wild animals as pets. 99 times out of 100 the cute little cub turns into a raging monster after just a few months. The WRRT guys often get people ringing up to “donate” animals that have started to become dangerous or are destroying someone’s house. On one of my first expeditions here in 2001, I came across a tiny bear in a 1 meter square cage. Through my interpreter I was told how the lady who owned it “loved the little bear and treated it like her children”. I tried to ask the obvious question, did she keep her kids in a cage that small? Unfortunately my interpreter refused to be that ‘rude’, I just wish I could have said it myself. At least the poor animal was rescued a few days later and went to Phnom Tamao.


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About Allan Michaud

English Wildlife Photographer/Environmental Filmmaker based in Cambodia
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