The events that led up to this wildcat’s death are a tragic reminder of the threat of snares. In this video, Marx describes the news of its death as “due to the snare epidemic that is sweeping through the forests throughout Cambodia.”
Another recent victim of snaring is the injured gaur that WRRT went to rescue last month. The gaur had broken free, but lost part of her leg to the snare. In both cases, it is unknown how long the animals were in the snare. The duration an animal is trapped for has a huge impact on their chances because once snared, they cannot access food or water.
The death of this clouded leopard is not unusual. The majority of animals will not make it out of the snare alive. “Most animals caught in snares die due to their injuries,” said Marx. Rangers who patrol the forests to remove snares are in a race against time. When snared animals are found, most are dead already. “They die slow and painful deaths,” either due to injuries, or starvation.
This clouded leopard was no exception. He made it out of the snare but his weakened state led to his death. At first, the signs were encouraging: following treatment, he came round from the anesthetic, unlike the gaur. PTWRC staff did everything they could to imitate the cat’s natural environment, and thus minimise stress. “We placed him in a small cage which we covered with leaves and branches to make him feel more at home and more secure,” Marx explained. But sadly, the cat did not eat, and two days later, “he took the same path as the gaur, and sadly died.”
While deeply saddened by the passing of this clouded leopard, we are now doubly determined to eliminate the scourge of Cambodia’s forests: snares. These agents of death are set in the thousands throughout forests in the country.