Kochi (PTI): The tiger population in Asian forests is not facing grave threat from roaring guns but from deadly snare traps, warn world conservation organisations and urged tiger range governments to crack down on a severe wildlife snaring crisis that gripped forests across the continent.
The warning was issued on the occasion of Global Tiger Day yesterday by TRAFFIC– global wildlife trade monitoring network and WWF–the leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species.
“Of particular concern is the threat indiscriminate snares pose to the world’s remaining wild tigers, which number in the region of 3,900,” say the agencies in an article posted on TRAFFIC website.
India is home to more than 70 per cent of tigers in the world.
India’s tiger population grew to 2,226 in 2014 from a dwindling number of 1,411 in 2006.
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, the agencies claim in the article.
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, it says.
Over 30,000 snares were confiscated in Cambodia last year alone, it is likely that many more remain undiscovered.
“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,” says 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,” says 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, say the agencies.
“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,” Singh says.