Monitoring wildlife snaring in Southeast Asia and a review of related legislation

Poaching wildlife with snares is considered a primary driver of declines in tropical forest vertebrates in Southeast Asia. There is no standard method for monitoring snaring patterns over space and time and assessments rely largely on expert opinion and anecdotal data. Legislation restricting the use of snares is generally regarded as insufficient in Southeast Asian countries, however there has been no formal review to summarize strengths and weaknesses. We will create a baseline measure of snaring prevalence in Southeast Asian IUCN protected areas. We will gather data from a representative sample of IUCN protected areas within 11 Southeast Asian countries using a standardized questionnaire sent to biologists with first-hand knowledge of each protected area. With this questionnaire, we will generate information on the status of wildlife snaring across core habitat in Southeast Asia and highlight at-risk areas where there are high levels of snaring and low levels of law enforcement. Our questionnaire will be a platform with which to monitor trends in wildlife snaring over time. A review of national legislation pertaining to wildlife snaring will identify gaps or weaknesses and lead to recommendations for improvement.

Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project

The Cambodian populations of the now Critically Endangered White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, and Red-headed Vulture represent the last stronghold of the species outside the diclofenac affected range (South Asia). However, the Cambodian populations are threatened primarily by a paucity of food (owing first to a decline in wild ungulates and second to declines in numbers of free-ranging domestic cattle and buffalo arising from increasing agricultural mechanization, sale of stock into meat export trade, and increasing domestic consumption), low nesting success owing to opportunistic nest predation by people, natural predation, and felling of nesting trees for timber and incidental poisoning incidents. Poising is also a major threat, used for hunting and fishing, and to kill nuisance domestic animals (e.g. feral dogs). Vultures die from eating animals that have ingested poison. In response to these threats, the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project (CVCP) was established in 2004, as a partnership of government agencies and NGOs, faciliated by BirdLife Internaitonal. The partnership has drafted and implements a vulture conservation action plan for Cambodia.

The overall goal of this project is to ensure the population of all three vulture species in Cambodia remains stable against 2016 baselines and to monitor the threats and status of the three vulture species in Cambodia. Key actions include raising community awareness about vultures, supporting enforcement of laws for misues of pesticides, lobbying for a national ban on Carbofuran, promoting community based livelihoods (cow bank, community based vulture tourism), and providing supplementary feeding of Vulture populations through vulture restaurants at key sites. The capacity of the CVCP’s local partners remains low and funding is limited, despite that several activities e.g., supplemental feeding, will need to continue for a significant period of time, at least at some sites, until long-term goals e.g. the recovery of wild ungulate populations, are realized.

The Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme (CCCP)

The project’s long-term goal is to re-establish a viable population of at least 5,000 wild Siamese crocodiles spread across multiple, sustainably-managed wetland sites in Cambodia. The project goal is to double the wild population by 2020 and to leverage the species as a flagship for conserving threatened rivers and wetlands in Cambodia. The project’s specific objectives are: (1) over 50% of Cambodia’s wild crocodiles in sites that are effectively protected and managed as crocodile sanctuaries; and (2) the recovery and viability of wild populations is enhanced through the release of healthy captive-bred, confiscated and headstarted crocodiles into protected sanctuaries.