The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) announced today its recipients for the 2012 Disney Conservation Hero award, which recognizes outstanding citizens whose passion and dedication have impacted the efforts of conservation, wildlife and habitat protection and education around the world. Individuals are nominated by non-profit organizations and the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA) and receive a $1,000 award from DWCF.

Wildlife Alliance is proud to announce that the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) has won this award in honor of their decade-long crusade to stop wildlife trafficking in Cambodia. The members of the team are:

  • Forestry Administration Officer Heng Kimchhay
  • Forestry Administration Officer Prom Nol
  • Forestry Administration Officer Van Mony
  • Lieutenant Colonel Kouch Haksrorn
  • Captain Pouv Sary
  • Major Sou Sareth
  • Second Lieutenant Lai Chhaideth
  • Master Sergeant Sor Lin
  • Second Lieutenant Ly Voleak
  • Project Manager, Khem Vuthyravong
  • Technical Advisor, Dean Lague

Since 2001, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, a wildlife crime investigation and counter-trafficking unit composed of government and non-government officials, has fought to curb the illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade in Southeast Asia. The WRRT conducts operations on roads, in restaurants, in forests and in known and suspected wildlife markets. The team travels around the country intercepting illegal shipments of wildlife, responding to tips from informants and anonymous sources, investigating known wildlife trade offenders for potential new offenses, and rescuing wildlife victimized by wildlife traders, or caught in human-wildlife conflicts.

Since its launch, the WRRT have rescued over 53,000 victims from the wildlife trade, resulting in a 75% reduction in wildlife trafficking country-wide, and a 90% decrease in wildlife sales in Phnom Penh restaurants. Their tireless achievements have led to the arrest or fining of over 2,100 offenders. The WRRT serves as the Cambodian coordinator of the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network. Without the constant surveillance of the WRRT, endangered species throughout Southeast Asia would be nonexistent. We applaud the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team for their accomplishments and commitment to ending the illegal wildlife trade. For more information about the WRRT, visit To learn about the Disney Conservation Hero award, visit or

Image courtesy Wildlife Alliance

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