Asia’s tigers face devastating snaring crisis
Cambridge, UK, 29th July 2017–On Global Tiger Day today, TRAFFIC and WWF are urging Tiger range governments to strengthen anti-poaching efforts and crack down on a severe wildlife snaring crisis that is threatening wildlife across Asia.
Of particular concern is the threat indiscriminate snares pose to the world’s remaining wild Tigers, which number in the region of 3,900.
Easy to make from widely available material such as bicycle cable wires and quick to set up, wire snares are deadly traps that are fast becoming the plague of Asia’s forests. Driven by the growing illegal wildlife trade and demand for illegal wildlife products across Asia, poachers are increasingly using snares to trap wild Tigers, elephants, leopards and other wildlife.
“Snares are a commonly-used method of Tiger poaching in Asia’s forests. They are especially dangerous because they kill at random – so all manner of wildlife is at risk. It is imperative that Tiger range countries scale up their enforcement efforts to curb this crisis,” said Richard Thomas, TRAFFIC’s Global Communications Co-ordinator.
As snares can maim or kill any animal that activates them wild Tigers are dealt a double blow, as the prey base they need to survive and reproduce are reduced also.
“It’s impossible to know how many snares are being set up every day, and threatening wildlife in these critical habitats. Hundreds of thousands of deadly snares are removed by rangers from Asia’s protected areas annually, but this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Rohit Singh, wildlife law enforcement expert at WWF.
Within the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only place on Earth where wild Tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos are found in the same habitat, snare traps are estimated to have doubled between 2006 and 2014.
Yet, many of such critical habitats lack adequate resources for protection. In nearby Rimbang Baling, one of several protected areas in Sumatra, only 26 rangers patrol over 1,400 square kilometres, an area equivalent to nearly twice the size of New York City.
“Removing these silent traps is not enough. Rangers on the ground must be supported by greater resources and strong legislation to take action against illegal poachers with snares,” added Singh. “In addition, local communities must also be recognized and empowered as stakeholders in conservation. Protecting biodiversity is in the interest of both wildlife and people and communities can play a critical role in safeguarding vital ecosystems.”
In 2010, Tiger range governments committed to the most ambitious conservation goal set for a single species – TX2, or the global goal to double wild tigers by 2022.