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Saving Wildlife of Phnom Tnout

$10,151 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 118 people in 4 months
38264550_1554425219457682_r.jpegOur family has been working to protect the forest of Phnom Tnout  Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia since 2012. Phnom Tnout is home endangered banteng (a wild cow), pileated gibbons and silvered langurs and at least four other endangered listed species. Habitat for these special animals is fast declining and under constant pressure from threats of poaching through guns and snares; and loss of habitat through illegal logging and land clearing. Ben has been working tirelessly through patrolling - with both community and government rangers to stem these illegal activities. Last year there were over 70 chainsaws confiscated, a number of people arrested and over 700 snares picked up. This fundraising campaign is to help to pay for some of the expenses involved in patrolling: equipment and stipends for these protectors of the forest. Without patrolling efforts the forest here will soon be silent - like much forest in other parts of Asia: devoid of wildlife and even birds. It is important to act now while there is still something to protect.

This job is hard and dangerous with little benefit. A typical patrol involves a long hard walk in the hot Cambodian forest; looking for signs of people doing illegal activities - listening for a chainsaw, a gun. Then tracking down these people and attempting to apprehend them. There is sometimes a chase. Resistance is often faced. These people usually have weapons of some kind either a gun (they make these illegal muzzle loading home-made guns) or at least knives and machetes. But without such efforts, the wildlife will be gone and the forest will be cut down.  We must do something!

Your funds will help support these efforts and save the forest and its animal inhabitants of Phnom Tnout.
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Hello Friends,
Posting another update here. It is supposed to be rainy season here but the rain just isn’t materialising. a little storm here and there but no real rain. The farmers are starting to be concerned. The waterholes have however started to fill up. The troop of macaques that visit us in the dry season have gone up the mountain.. there is fruit in the trees for them to eat.. so we have rarely seen then lately. The butterflies are out en masse at the moment and the forest has greened up nicely. Finally, our partners at Wildlife Alliance assigned a longer-term team to help us... still 4 rangers but for a full month here. So that will help Ben significantly in the patrolling efforts. Good to see the progress here and that the support is coming.
Our workers this last week sighted a big banteng bull, a few barking deer (muntjac), wild pigs and the macaques. Ben last week was out at night on his motorbike and trailed a baby porcupine who just kept running on the trail in front of him.. too terrified to turn off the trail. A new pair of juvenile peafowl turned up around our house… they are more wary of us and maybe a year old.. but we are seeing them daily. We have 3 that hang around so this brings our group up to 5.. however the other 3 are male. Hoping that these 2 new ones, might be females.. but not exactly sure and suspect they maybe more males. Fingers crossed. And today on our hike, while Molly (the tame-but not nice gibbon) was waiting to ambush our group on the trail with her wild husband (who must wonder why his partner must stay so close to these dangerous humans), we herd at least another gibbon up in a different area. Good to hear we still have some other wild ones around here.
Regards to you all! And thanks again for the support!
PS Attached is an older picture of the biggest banteng bull we have seen on the mountain here... if only we knew the stories he could tell...
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Thanks to all of you for donating to our cause here. We are working hard to get a full time team of rangers out here and coordinating with another NGO, Wildlife Alliance who work in the south. We will be using their rangers (and they are in the process of recruiting .. they just had 13 new rangers who they were interviewing - passed a physical test. They are waiting on some paperwork .. we will get a couple of these new rangers we hope). They also need a lot or them as they are working in a huge area in Koh Kong province).
We did just have a short stint with 4 rangers sent up temporarily - for 10 days. They were able to confiscate a tractor with timber, a chainsaw and also.. this is interesting.. intercepted a illegal wildlife trader who, unfortunately this time only had 450 tokay geckos on their way to Vietnam. We released the geckos around our house here.
These traders are bad news as they aren't always just catching lizards, but introducing a ready market for all sorts of wildlife collection - so many birds (in high demand) and easy to catch wildlife (tortoise, monitor lizards, even pangolins)are caught by villagers who are entering the forest in the guise of collecting mushrooms and resin but opportunistically take anything they find; a natural tendency if you are poor and the animal is right there and if there is no risk of getting caught. Sad, but our forests will become silent if we don't keep at this and work to ensure that there is a risk to them for engaging in these illegal activities. Ultimately we need to work on helping them find other ways to survive but the "quick money" they get this way is always a temptation.
Thanks again to your support. We are almost halfway to the goal for this year and we appreciate so much the help you have all provided.
Best wishes to you all,
Ben and Sharyn
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Hi Everyone,
We have been amazed over the last few days seeing the support coming in from primarily the Netherlands after “Floortje To the End of the World” aired on TV. If anyone hasn't seen it yet.. here is the link:
https://www.npostart.nl/floortje-naar-het-einde-van-de-wereld/11-04-2019/BV_101392443
And if you don't understand Dutch, there is plenty of English in the show.
So, thanks to all the kind people in the Netherlands (and further afield even who follow Floortje's program) for watching the show and for all the support – both moral and financial.
We are continuing here. Right now, it is Khmer New Year - the biggest holiday of the year in Cambodia - akin to Christmas. So, lots of work stops, offices close and everyone is on holiday. But not necessarily the poachers. Ben was busy working on the bridge last Wednesday, and heading back for lunch noticed a plume of smoke about 1000 m from our house. Someone had set a grass fire. Weather being hot, it was travelling fast. Luckily we had all the bridge workers and they managed to put it out there was quite a bit of damage with maybe 500 hectares burned... but saving the fire from coming too close to our site. The fires are problematic because they take away all the cover for the animals and so the poachers with their dogs can walk through the burned area picking out tortoises, monitor lizards, and the dogs can easily chase down deer.. that sort of thing. Then, also as bad is that they irreparably damage the trees. So many trees just fall down because of all the root damage, as well as killing all the young saplings. That is why the dry season is always a difficult time here.
It is however Khmer New Year, which is usually when the rain starts to show itself. We had a little sprinkle yesterday.. and it is just so hot that it might just turn into a thunderstorm. Fingers Crossed.
Thanks again everyone.
And Happy Khmer New Year!
Sharyn and Ben
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Just a bit about the background to this:
I don't really like these campaigns (because I don't like asking for money!) but someone asked me to set something up.. so here is something for now. If anyone feels like donating to our work here.. please have a look.
We are actually in the process of establishing a local NGO here in Cambodia for running our conservation activities through but for now, this is what we have.
Our philosophy from the beginning was to operate the ecotourism business that would fund our conservation activities in a sustainable manner. So we were busy setting up ecotourism side of the project .. and also running around patrolling, paying for community rangers etc. through these funds. But alas there is much more we want to do than we can fund ourselves this way.. and so we have relented to going back to our NGO roots and are starting on this process. Until the NGO is set up (which we are doing in the next few months) .. here is a way you can help. Thanks so much!
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$10,151 of $15,000 goal

Raised by 118 people in 4 months
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Cor Hoender
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22 days ago
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1 month ago
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$501
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2 months ago
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2 months ago
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