Legislative changes, eco-tourism could curb illegal wildlife trade in Laos

A survey on wildlife market in Laos has revealed its local communities’ massive dependence on the product for food and livelihood, threatening the survival of many species in the country. 

Nearly 90 percent of the households confirmed using wildlife, and the majority of the population was found to be harvesting wildlife for income. Locals also prefer to trap wild animals for self-consumption as they are more affordable. Prices of domesticated meat in the country are more than three times as high as those of wildlife products, said a peer-reviewed study published in Nature Conservation.

Researchers investigated both markets and households in Khammouane Province in central Laos, which has three major forest areas, Phou Hin Poun, Nakai Nam Theun, and Hin Nam No NP, making it a crucial hotspot for illegal wildlife trade. The province is also connected to major trade routes with Vietnam and Thailand.

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Alok Gupta