- Issue: Spring 2021
A deadly crisis is spreading across Southeast Asia, silently emptying forests of wildlife. In recent years, poachers have driven a proliferation of commercial snares—rudimentary traps made of wire, rope, or cable—to capture animals for the illegal wildlife trade and to meet increasing demand for wildlife meat. Snares now threaten 80% of Southeast Asia’s mammal species, according to a 2020 WWF report.
Unlike traditional snares, which are made of natural fibers and used by Indigenous communities, commercial snares are inexpensive and easy to set in large numbers, and they remain lethal much longer. They’re also indiscriminate: Species from elephants to pangolins can be trapped for days or weeks before succumbing to injury, infection, or starvation.
In response, WWF has organized community and government ranger patrols to remove thousands of snares from 10 protected areas in the Greater Mekong. We’ve also provided trainings to help rangers and local communities prevent wildlife crime. But to stop this threat, governments must strengthen legislation to prohibit commercial snaring and deter poachers. And we must continue working to reduce illegal wildlife trade and the demand that drives it.
Estimated number of snares on the ground in
protected areas across Viet Nam, Cambodia, and Laos—
countries at the heart of the regional snaring crisis.