Tracking snares to mitigate the threat to wildlife: Quantification of hunting methods along the fringes of Valmiki Tiger Reserve, India

By 25th August 2023Conservation Papers


Traditional hunting methods, despite their simple design pose a serious hazard to wild animals. Keeping in view, the negative impacts of traditional hunting methods including wire snares on the survival of wildlife, especially tigers that are endangered, anti-snare walks were carried out in Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR). We used a stratified random sampling method to walk a total of 142.71 km on 23 tracks along the forest fringes of eight forest ranges in the VTR. A total of 132 hunting incidences were encountered out of which 44 were wire snares, followed by 35 bird snares, 27 other hunting tools (axe, bow, arrows, sickles, and knife), 14 nets for mammals, 6 spears, 4 jaw traps, and only 2 electric wires. The detection rate of hunting incidences was 0.92 ± 0.32 per kilometre. The majority of snares were made of clutch wire (89 %), and the rest were made of galvanised iron wire (11 %). The average diameter of a snare loop was 37.75 ± 6.79 cm, while the average length was 219.52 ± 20.99 cm. The result showed that the snare loop and anchor plant girth have a linear relationship (i.e., positive correlation) with the number of snares. The detection rate of snares increased in the VTR boundary zones, with the highest density (66 %) found at the international border (Nepal) and interstate (Uttar Pradesh), India. We developed a kernel density estimation map to show hunting hotspots in the VTR, with the darker the red, the more dense the event locations of the hunting incidences. We involved 268 people in the anti-snare walk, including representatives from various law enforcement agencies and local volunteers, in order to build capacity by providing participants with direct field-based practice. Our findings are expected to add valuable ground-based data to fill current knowledge gaps on the deleterious impact of hunting methods including snares on wildlife in VTR.

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