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28 Jul 2020

Conservation Story 12: Asia’s Snaring Crisis Poses Grave Threat to Wild Tigers

A snaring crisis is not only decimating wildlife in Southeast Asia, but also increasing the risk of zoonotic disease transmission to humans, according to a new WWF report, Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’s Snaring Crisis. It is estimated that more than 12 million snares are set up throughout the protected areas of Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam – a group of countries at the centre of the region’s snaring crisis.

TX2 Asian Tigers

Often made from wire or cable, these rudimentary traps increase close contact between humans and wildlife and the likelihood of zoonotic disease spillover. In fact, researchers have identified many of the animals targeted by snaring, including wild pig, palm civets, and pangolins, as among the highest risk for zoonotic disease transmission.

“Indiscriminately killing and maiming, snares impact more than 700 mammal species in the region, from tigers and elephants to pangolins and palm civets, and emptying its forests. These species don’t stand a chance unless Southeast Asian governments urgently tackle the snaring crisis,” said Stuart Chapman, Lead of the WWF Tigers Alive Initiative.

“Snares are also the greatest threat to the long-term presence of tigers in Southeast Asia, killing not only tigers but also their prey – and a major contributor to the fact they are now presumed extinct in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. Without strong action, a snaring driven extinction wave could break across Asia.”

Simply removing snares is not enough to address this crisis. Urgent action is needed to address this threat to wildlife, ecosystems and public health. WWF is urging Southeast Asian governments to strengthen legislation to deter snaring and invest more in the management of its protected areas by increasing patrolling and monitoring. Governments should also limit the purchase, sale, transport and consumption of wildlife species that are of high risk for zoonotic disease transmission, including most of the ungulates and carnivores that are major targets for snaring. Building engagement with local communities and partners is also equally important in curbing the demand that drives widespread snaring and ultimately protecting these important ecosystems.

Click here to download the full report and find out more about the region’s snaring crisis.

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