Animal Snares are the Main Cause of the Extinction of Tigers and Leopards in Laos

A recent research paper in Conservation and Global Ecology considers that the last tiger in Laos disappeared around 2013 from the Nam Et-Phou Louey National Park-Conservation Area. Scientists believe that animal snares caused many tiger deaths, despite a massive program of conservation actions in the country’s national parks.

With the disappearance of tigers in the largest protected area in Laos, researchers say the tigers are also likely to have become extinct in Cambodia and Vietnam.

The last tiger in Laos is likely to die with extraordinary conditions of pain. His foot is trapped in a snare so that he might become dehydrated. Or maybe he tried to escape from the snare so that his leg was injured, torn and he lost a lot of blood. In the end, the tiger might die under torture.

It is possible that the last Indochina (Panthera tigris corbetti) tiger in Laos was shot dead by poachers. He was then mutilated and sold parts of his body. On the black market, tiger body parts are used as status symbols or as fabricated medicinal ingredients.

And it’s not only tigers that are victims. The researchers also believe that the Indochina leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) is now extinct from the Nam Et-Phou Louey Conservation Area, Laos, and other protected areas due to the same snare crisis.

This tragedy is only one sign of the phenomenon of ‘massive deforestation’ throughout Southeast Asia, when hunters with weapons and snares continue to destroy animal populations, from animals the size of rats or sparrows to large animals as targets. Some people even suggested to stop the cruelty from hunting animals to playing game situs judi bola resmi dan terpercaya as a new hobby.

In the early 2000s, conservationists saw the Nam-Et Phou Louey Conservation Area as a top priority. At that time, this area still had a population of tigers, leopards, and many other large mammals. At that time, this national park became one of the most important tiger population habitats in Southeast Asia.

In 2003 and 2004, conservationists believed that there were at least seven tigers in Nam-Et Phou Louey or perhaps until 23. New conservation strategies, including improving law enforcement and working with local communities, began in 2005. But in 2013, the researchers only found two tigers in the trap camera, and since then, no more tigers have been seen through the trap camera.

“There has been a sharp decline and destruction of tigers in Nam-Et Phou Louey in just 10 years,” Akchousanh Rasphone, researcher and member of the Wildlife Research Conservation Unit, known as WildCRU, at the University of Oxford explained.

“[The study results] we see from various factors that cause a decrease, such as the consideration of the number of prey and the number of firearms seized from the national park, then the only factor that seems to be directly related to the decline in tigers is an extraordinary increase in the number of snares,” he added.

Camera trap did not find a tiger or leopard

Rasphone and his colleagues systematically surveyed the national park from 2013 to 2017 with a trap camera, and they said this was the largest conservation action effort ever undertaken in Laos.
The results of the survey showed no tiger at all; the last individual was recorded in 2004. And the last two tigers just disappeared after 2013. Most likely, they have been killed by snares or weapons.
When asked if they might be able to pass a tiger on a trap camera device, Rasphone said, “tigers have a roaming area. Usually, they can be easily photographed in cameras installed along the path.”

Tigers have large bodies, are easily distinguished from other animals, and tend to traverse trails that cover large areas of their territory.

Efforts to photograph them are far easier than many other species that tend to appear cryptic on a trap camera.

The only other place in Laos that has tigers that are still thought to survive are tigers in the Nature Protection Area in Nakai-Nam Thuem. Although the indications are getting worse.

“Trapped cameras in Nakai-Nam Thuen recently showed tigers, leopards, leopards, and golden cats have been destroyed from this protected area,” explained an anonymous conservation expert who declined to be named. So, if a tiger goes extinct from Laos, it’s the same as those who have just gone extinct from Cambodia and Vietnam. Given all the attention and funds allocated to the tiger, why did this happen?