The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) was founded by Los Angeles attorney David B. Casselman. After traveling to Cambodia and spending time with the people, he became concerned about the reality of their environmental situation. The government lacked the funding and thus the ability to protect their precious land and animals of that region. He set out to solve that problem.
Elephants are natural and welcome “bulldozers” in the jungle. But, they are incredibly destructive and are being hunted to stop them from decimating local farms. Similarly, tigers and other exotic animals are hunted and often sold for “bush meat.” Realizing they needed a champion, he asked his friend Mr Sok Hong from Phnom Penh, to assist him in an international effort to save them and as much of the existing jungle habitat as possible. This soon evolved into a more extensive plan.
Mr Casselman also asked for help from an international team of experts. His first call was to Mr Michael Bell in Los Angeles, the number one champion of all animals everywhere. He promptly put him in touch with sanctuary experts Pat Derby and Ed Stewart. Together, they have designed, constructed and are operating two sanctuaries in Northern California. Renowned worldwide, they immediately added expertise and limitless encouragement.
Later, they introduced Mr Casselman to veterinarians Kim Haddad and Jennifer Conrad. As a pioneer in animal welfare causes, with experience around the world, Dr Conrad has developed new veterinarian surgical techniques. She and Dr Jim Jensvold are the authors of the big cat “no declaw bill” recently passed into law in California. As such, the CWS was extremely fortunate that Dr Conrad was willing and anxious to train other veterinarians and serve as the Project Director. She and Dr Jensvold have worked tirelessly together to assist in making this project a reality.
Throughout this process, Michelle Rowan and the Sharman Networks team from Sydney Australia have provided countless hours of time and expertise organizing and creating this web site. As with all of our team, their contribution has been immeasurable.
In addition to protecting the land and the animals that still live there, the plan evolved to create an “observation” area where the abused and abandoned animals that are spread across this region can be allowed to live in peace. Further plans evolved to employ, house and train veterinarians from all over the world. Dr Conrad will lead that unique effort. All the animals that are capable of release into the wild will be watched, cared for and then released as appropriate.
The project design needs also lead the CWS team to enlist the expertise of Mr Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation in London and renowned expert David Hancocks of Melbourne Australia. Landscape architect and designer Stuart Green (also of Australia) was also retained and has developed the design drawings of the Observation Area which are now being developed for construction to begin. Our most recent expert addition is Dr Orville Ball, a renown limnologist from Seattle Washington. He will guide our efforts to create and maintain balanced and biologically sound aquatic environments throughout the sanctuary.
As part of this process, Mr Casselman has been funding these activities. Sok Hong facilitated communications with the Cambodian government which lead to the historic Project Agreement.
At the same time, he also contributed time and funds toward development of the project and maintaining staffing in Cambodia. With his guidance, CWS has constructed its headquarters on the Observation Sanctuary land and is organizing and overseeing ongoing patrols. The patrols are charged with the difficult task of permanently stopping logging and poaching in that area. However, soon the Observation Sanctuary construction will begin and eco-tourism will add financial support for this important and desperately needed project.
The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) was formed in March 2004. The Cambodia Wildlife Habitat Conservation, a Cambodian Corporation, acts
in partnership with the Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary, a California Non Profit Corporation. These entities are providing a joint effort to develop the Observation and Conservation Sanctuaries to permanently protect the rich forest landscape of Cambodia and its diverse population of wildlife.
CWS will be permanently funded by environmentally responsible tourism and attract attention and appreciation for the habitat, wildlife and people of the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Click here to find out more about the sanctuary.
The Cambodian Wildlife Sanctuary will employ up to 1000 Cambodians by 2009.