Study: Snares claim another local extinction as Cambodia loses its leopards

Researchers say the Indochinese leopard is functionally extinct in Cambodia after a 2021 camera-trap survey failed to capture a single individual from what was once thought to be the country’s last viable population of the big cat.

Years of law enforcement to tackle rampant snaring and poaching have failed to halt the loss of Cambodia’s last remaining Indochinese leopard population, according to a recent study.

The researchers believe that while a few individual Indochinese leopards (Panthera pardus delacouri) may still linger in Cambodia’s forests, the country no longer has a viable population of the subspecies.

“Given the current population status and myriad of threats, it is pretty certain that the Indochinese leopard now is functionally extinct in Cambodia,” study author Susana Rostro-Garcia, a scientist with the University of Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) and the NGO Panthera, told Mongabay in an email. “Regrettably, the population status and trajectory of the Critically Endangered Indochinese Leopard in the [Eastern Plains Landscape] suggest that population recovery in this priority site is unlikely to occur.”

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