About the Sanctuary
The Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary is a one-million-acre jungle and wildlife conservation project. Founded in 2004 in partnership with the Cambodian government, the Sanctuary is committed to protecting and rehabilitating diminishing jungle habitat and wildlife, as well as employing and empowering the local community. Previously known as the Kulen-Promptep Sanctuary, the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the provinces of Preah Vihear, Siem Reap, and Odor Mean Chey.
The Sanctuary is a one-of-a-kind conservation project, as the region is one of the richest--and largest--remaining examples of Indochinese dry forest biome. The defining feature of this vast, largely flat landscape is extensive, lowland, savannah-like, deciduous dipterocarp forests, occurring in a complex mosaic with seasonal wetlands, semi-evergreen forests, and grasslands. The concentration of globally threatened species in the Sanctuary is exceptional. The area is a last refuge for, or maintains a key population of, thirty-six species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, including six listed as Critically Endangered. Notable among these are the Giant and White-shouldered Ibises (whose global population is estimated at less than two-hundred-fifty individuals for each species, and for which the Sanctuary is one of the most important breeding sites known). Another Critically Endangered species, Wroughton's Freetailed Bat, is only known from the Sanctuary and one site in India. Other highly threatened species at the Sanctuary include Tiger, Asian Elephant, Banteng, Eld's Deer, Greater Adjutant, White-backed and Slender-billed Vultures, Sarus Crane, Siamese crocodile, and several turtle species.
To conserve this rich forest environment and associated wildlife, the Sanctuary takes a well-rounded, multi-stakeholder approach, focusing equally on animal rescue, environmental protection, and community empowerment. To protect threatened native species, the Sanctuary is committed to rescuing and rehabilitating local wildlife, returning animals to the wild whenever possible. The required wildlife veterinary care serves the added benefit of creating a foundation for scientific information gathering, storage, and distribution--the lack of which is an obstacle to sound planning for biodiversity throughout Cambodia. Along with regular patrol, stable employment opportunities empower local Cambodian communities to protect the Sanctuary from illegal logging and poaching. Among other things, the Sanctuary utilizes clear-cut spaces to grow fruits and vegetables, feeding team members and volunteers from its own gardens whenever possible.
The Sanctuary is financed through an ethical eco-volunteer program, as well as through private donations. We are so passionate about what we are doing, that we would love for you to be a part of our journey. Please visit our social media pages to see what we’re doing regularly. Better yet, check out our volunteer information here to plan your next visit. If you are interested in donating, you can find more information here.
About the TEAM
David B. Casselman, Esq.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
David Casselman is a California-based attorney and founding partner at Casselman Law Group. David specializes in prosecution and defense of complex litigation matters, and dedicates a significant amount of his expertise to pro bono issues for the benefit of animals. His practice includes public entity liability, inverse condemnation, public construction contract litigation, product liability litigation, landslide litigation, general business litigation, real property litigation, insurance matters, and animal welfare.
David was lead trial counsel in two of the top ten largest verdicts in the State of California in 2001. The $94.5 million judgment in the case of Border Business Park v. City of San Diego was the second largest in California and the tenth largest in the United States in that year. His $63.9 million dollar judgment on the MTA cross-complaint in the case of Tutor Saliba vs. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was the ninth largest verdict in California the same year. This is believed to be the only time that the same lawyer has tried two of the top ten largest verdicts in California in the same year.
Recognized as Southern California Super Lawyer since 2005, David has used his background in public entity liability to advance the protection of animals under the law. In 2007, David utilized a taxpayer waste statute to sue the Los Angeles Zoo, alleging that the Zoo’s treatment of elephants was illegal and injurious, resulting in premature death and loss of public property. In 2012, the Superior Court of Los Angeles found in favor of plaintiff-taxpayer, and required the Los Angeles Zoo to regularly exercise elephants and rototill exhibit soil, and further enjoined the Zoo from using bullhooks. The Zoo appealed, and in 2016, California Court of Appeal affirmed.
Additionally, David is an active member of the National Board and Los Angeles Board of the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”), serving as the 2009 President of Cal-ABOTA, the 2005 President of the Los Angeles Chapter of ABOTA, and author/producer of "Civility Matters," a DVD used by ABOTA nationwide to teach civility to law students and lawyers. An adjunct Professor of Insurance Law at Southwestern Law and trial advocacy at West Los Angeles School of Law, David was an original Co-author of the three-volume "California Practice Guide: Insurance Litigation" published by The Rutter Group.
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Sok Hong is a Cambodian entrepreneur and philanthropist. From 1995 to 2006, Hong served as Managing Director of KONG HONG I and KONG HONG II Manufacturing, producing clothing for local and international markets, and employing a 4,000-person staff. From 2003 to 2006, Hong served as Vice Chairman of Sokimex, where he was responsible for Sihanoukville Sokha Hotel and Siem Reap Sokha Hotel, and employed an 800-person staff. In 2007, Hong established HSC Co., Ltd, providing the largest and most powerful dredge service in Cambodia. Hong has since begun a number of additional business ventures, ranging from cosmetics, to electronics, to food distribution, production, and service. Hong is passionate about the health and stability of Cambodia, and contributes regularly to community development.
Sangduen “Lek” Chailert
Partner, Save Elephant Foundation
Sangduen “Lek” Chailert was born in 1962 in the small hill tribe village of Baan Lao, two hours north of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Her love for elephants began when her grandfather, a traditional healer, received a baby elephant as payment for saving a man’s life. Lek would spend many hours with her newfound friend, named Tongkum (Golden One), resulting in a passion that would shape the rest of her life, as well as the lives of others.
With a love and respect for her country’s national symbol, and the knowledge that elephants were becoming endangered, Lek began advocating for the rights and welfare of Asian elephants in Thailand. In an industry steeped in tradition, advocating for positive change in the management of domestic and wild Asian elephants has been difficult. In 1996, Lek founded the Elephant Heaven Nature Park an elephant rescue and sanctuary that, in 2003, would be closed and reopened in another location as Elephant Nature Park. Through her organization Save Elephant Foundation, Lek continues to develop elephant sanctuaries around Southeast Asia.
Lek’s work has been recognized in several documentaries produced byﾠNational Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet and the BBC, Lek has also won many honorary awards. In 2001, Lek was named Ford Foundation’s “Hero of the Planet”, and in 2005, Lek was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia for her work in conservation. In 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton invited Lek to Washington, DC in 2010 to honor her as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation.
Lek has earned two honorary degrees from Rajabaht Chiang Mai University – a PhD in Sustainability and Conservation and a PhD in Veterinary Science. Finally, the National Geographic documentary Vanishing Giants, highlighting Lek’s work with the Asian elephant, was recognized by the Humane Society of the United States with the Genesis Award in 2003.
Today, Lek continues to be at the forefront international awareness and advocacy for elephants, as well as other animals.
Jennifer Conrad, DVM
Board of Directors
Dr. Jennifer Conrad has cared for wildlife on six continents for over two decades. She is an impassioned advocate for animal welfare, who has seen first-hand the suffering and exploitation of animals, destruction of habitat, and gratuitous hunting—all of which threaten the welfare and very survival of many species. Dr. Conrad has participated in many programs to protect and improve the lives of wild animals. She has traveled to Namibia to de-horn rhinos, making them unattractive targets for slaughter by poachers who prize the horns for ornamental uses. While in Africa, she worked with the Cheetah Conservation Fund, collecting information to help fortify the dwindling numbers of this species. In Nepal, Dr. Conrad treated endangered Asian elephants, and in the Galapagos Islands, she joined government scientists treating a threatened population of sea lions.
Dr. Conrad is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine and is a member of the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians (AAZV), and the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV).
Currently, Dr. Conrad's professional responsibilities are divided between working with nonprofit wildlife sanctuaries for unwanted and abused animals in southern California and administering her own company,Vet to the (Real) Stars, which provides humane veterinary care to animals appearing in television and movies. Some of her animal actors have appeared in The Life of Pi, Transformers II, The Hangover, Zoo Keeper, Doctor Doolittle 2 and The Planet of the Apes.
In her former role as head veterinarian at a wildlife sanctuary, Dr. Conrad founded The Paw Project, which rehabilitates big cats, such as lions, tigers, cougars and jaguars maimed by declawing. Actually an amputation of the last bone in the cat's toe, declawing often cripples these magnificent creatures, both from the pain caused by the bone fragments left behind, and from the progressively debilitating arthritis produced by abnormal stress on other joints as the cats try to avoid walking on their painful, amputated toes.
Jim Jensvold, DDS
Board of Directors
Jim Jensvold is a California-based oral surgeon and passionate animal advocate. In addition to his role at the Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary, Jim serves as Assistant Director at the Paw Project.