Across Southeast Asia, wild animals are being hunted out of existence to feed growing demand for bushmeat, according to conservationists.
Thomas Gray, science director with conservation group Wildlife Alliance, which operates in Cambodia, says that snares — simple traps made of wire and rope — have become the single biggest threat to ground-dwelling animals in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos over the last decade.
The scale of the problem is “phenomenal” says Gray.
Between 2010 and 2015, more than 200,000 snares were removed by patrol teams from just five protected areas in the region. But despite these efforts, says Gray, law enforcement patrols can’t keep pace with poachers and stop the slaughter.
Typically made from motorbike and bicycle brake cables, snares are cheap and simple to construct. Traditionally, hunters made snares from rattan and other natural forest products which were “relatively weak and decomposed relatively quickly,” says Gray. Wire snares require much less skill to make and can last for years.