Field Trip with a Twist

We’ve  just returned from an extra special field trip – not only could all our team make it out to PKWS to check camera-traps and conduct workshops with communities, but we were joined by 2 volunteers:  seasoned tracker extraordinaire Abel Ferrer from Spain and Biology graduate Alba Maya all the way from Mexico!

They joined  our Community and Research teams to deliver training to PKWS  rangers on tracking using materials developed by Vanessa, supplemented by existing materials from Wildlife Alliance:

Excerpt from the Khmer translation of the tracking training document

Footprint identification document: Wildlife Alliance

Training PKWS rangers

This was just a small part of the 2 days’ training our team conducted, which opened with a plenary for rangers to share their views, experience  and perceptions of wildlife within their patrol area. This allowed for insight into rangers’ knowledge, passion and motivation for the job.

Day 1: Theory

We also screened photo and video captures from our camera-traps- to enable greater understanding of our scope of work- and invited comments from rangers.

The team facilitated interactive mapping of the area, with rangers contributing local names of streams, plus indicating where and how often they patrol, what they see at each location etc – these insights will inform future camera-trap placements.

Also on the agenda was discussion of a wildlife data collection system, including implementation of a user-friendly system to train on SMART (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool) in future.

By the end of the day, we had jointly identified key sites to visit on Day 2.

Day 2: Practice

A group of 12, we set out on boats to check out the sites and replace a camera-trap at a since discovered good site for Fishing Cat.

Vanessa demonstrates camera-trap operation

Along the way, we talked wildlife in the area and trained rangers in setting up camera-traps.

Sothearen explains camera trap set-up

Our hope is that this immersive engagement can form the basis of future collaboration and knowledge-sharing with PKWS rangers.

Most exciting of all, together we searched for a spot to deploy a new camera-trap.

The sign of a good day: new camera-trap set and ready to go!

This is just the first step – on upcoming field trips we aim to deepen this knowledge base, build capacity and contribute resources to make the work of rangers in the area more impactful and gather more detailed data about wildlife in the area- watch this space!

We would like to thank our donor Panthera for their continued support in this endeavour.