project news

Caught in a Trap

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 17 Jun 2010


Here at Frontier we like to bring you news of interesting and insightful developments on our worldwide conservation projects, shedding light on everyday opportunities and events. Some of our staff and volunteers are often fortunate enough to catch sight of some mystical creatures in uncharted lands… and the enchanting forests of Cambodia are by no means an exception. During our last months of research being conducted in Botum Sakor National Park, we found evidence of endangered species such as the Fishing Cat, Hairy Nosed Otter and smooth Coated Otter. These species are threatened by extinction and their numbers are plunging year on year due to habitat loss. It is true that habitat loss, generated by a combination of increased agricultural production and deforestation, is the greatest threat currently facing worldwide biodiversity loss. However, there are other factors that attribute to the plight of Earth’s native species. Let me shed light on another issue that is sometimes overlooked.

Upon a recent trip into the wonderful landscapes surrounding our camp in Botum Sakor, our team discovered an unfortunate sight: a set of snare-line traps. Tangled in the line of traps, left by the way side was an unfortunate civet that stood no hope of escape. From what our reports in the field tell us, it appears that locals may be using this as a tool to fuel an illegal trade for fur. Although the civet is not particularly threatened, there are concerns that other more endangered species may be at risk from the trap-lines. It is also not uncommon for traps like this to be used as a way of providing subsistence to local communities, so it is still unclear to what purpose these traps are being used for.

Either way, it is an unfortunate part of the work we do, and by communicating with local communities the importance of preserving biodiversity in the region, we are hoping to help creatures such as the Fishing Cat and Otter bounce back to healthier populations.

Ed Cremin