The landscape configuration and lethality of snare poaching of sympatric guilds of large carnivores and ungulates

Poaching of wildlife presents one of the biggest conservation challenges in the 21st century. Snaring is one of the primary means of capturing target animals. To prioritise interventions intending to reduce snaring, we describe an approach for quantifying the configuration and lethality of snares. We conducted transect surveys in Murchison Falls National Park. All the snares that we recovered were made of wire with the majority (81.0%, n = 546 of 674) deriving from vehicle tire wire. The density of snares ranged from 0.08 to 4.58 snares/km2, which is the highest known density in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority (63%) of the animals caught in wire snares were unrecovered and wasted. We found that noose width, vertical drop, wire circumference, anchor height, proportion of un-thicketed area, grass height, distance to river and village had a significant positive relationships to lethality, while snare thickness, charms, tree DBH, thicket diameter, distance to nearest road negatively affected lethality. We recommend adopting wholistic anti-snare countermeasures such as the human heritage-centred conservation to empower local people. Our method illustrates the opportunity to standardise temporal and spatial measurements of snare density and configuration necessary to stop illegal wildlife poaching.

Last Updated
February 17, 2021