Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 1031–1037 | Cite as

The wildlife snaring crisis: an insidious and pervasive threat to biodiversity in Southeast Asia

  • Thomas N. E. GrayEmail author
  • Alice C. Hughes
  • William F. Laurance
  • Barney Long
  • Anthony J. Lynam
  • Hannah O’Kelly
  • William J. Ripple
  • Teak Seng
  • Lorraine Scotson
  • Nicholas M. Wilkinson


Southeast Asia, a region supporting more threatened species than any other comparable continental area, is in the midst of a conservation crisis. Hunting constitutes the greatest current threat to the region’s threatened vertebrates and has resulted in many areas of largely intact forest losing much of their former vertebrate diversity and abundance. Though numerous hunting methods are used, capture with home-made snares is a major driver of this defaunation. Snares are cheaply constructed and easy to set but can be difficult to detect and are highly damaging to vertebrate populations due to their indiscriminate and wasteful nature. The primary response to snaring is the removal of snares by patrol teams: more than 200,000 snares were removed from just five of the region’s protected areas between 2010 and 2015. However due to the low opportunity costs of replacing snares, removal alone is largely ineffective. Without the proactive search, arrest and prosecution of snare-setters, along with incentives not to hunt, snares will continue to be replaced. Legislative reform that criminalises the possession of snares, and the materials used for their construction, inside and immediately adjacent to protected areas is also required. Consistent enforcement of such legislation is essential. This must be combined with longer-term demand reduction activities aimed at changing cultural attitudes and behaviors related to the consumption of wildlife products in Southeast Asia.


Extinction crisis Mammal conservation Natural resource management Poaching Protected area 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas N. E. Gray
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alice C. Hughes
    • 2
  • William F. Laurance
    • 3
  • Barney Long
    • 4
  • Anthony J. Lynam
    • 5
  • Hannah O’Kelly
    • 6
  • William J. Ripple
    • 7
  • Teak Seng
    • 8
  • Lorraine Scotson
    • 9
  • Nicholas M. Wilkinson
    • 10
  1. 1.Wildlife AllianceToul Tompong IPhnom PenhCambodia
  2. 2.Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesJinghongChina
  3. 3.Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science and College of Science and EngineeringJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  4. 4.Global Wildlife ConservationAustinUSA
  5. 5.Wildlife Conservation SocietyCenter for Global ConservationBronxUSA
  6. 6.VientianeLao PDR
  7. 7.Global Trophic Cascades Program, Department of Forest Ecosystems and SocietyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  8. 8.World Wildlife Fund Greater MekongBoueng Keng Kang IPhnom PenhCambodia
  9. 9.Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of MinnesotaSt. PaulUSA
  10. 10.Department of GeographyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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