Snares in Southeast Asian forests pose huge threat to wildlife, WWF warns

Bangkok, Jul 9 (efe-epa).- At least 12 million illegal snares pose a huge threat to wildlife such as elephants and pangolins in protected areas of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, according to a report from the World Wildlife Foundation Thursday.

The use of snares for animal trapping can also contribute to the transmission of zoonotic virus to humans, the report added.

In its report Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’s Snaring Crisis, the WWF said the rudimentary traps, often made from wire cables, target wild boar, civets and pangolins, the latter being a suspected carrier of Covid-19.

Stuart Chapman, head of the WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, said: “Indiscriminately killing and maiming, snares are wiping out the region’s wildlife, 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.

“Snares are also the principal threat to tigers in the region – 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,” he added in a press release.

The WWF said the use of snares endangered 700 species of mammals in the region. Many animals die a slow and painful death as a result of injury sometimes weeks after becoming ensnared.

As well as calling for action against illegal snaring, the WWF urged authorities to ban the transport, sale and consumption of wild animals, which it pointed out were carriers of zoonotic viruses.

Animals caught by snares are taken to the black market, where they are used for ingredients in traditional medicine, for house decoration or to feed the wealthy classes’ insatiable appetite for exotic meat.

Deforestation and the building of roads through forested land is another pressing concern for the WWF in Southeast Asia, which says unsustainable development poses a major threat to the region’s biodiversity.

Efforts to remove snares are impeded by the fact they are well hidden in vegetation and are easily replaced by poachers. EFE-EPA

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