Disappearing Wildlife in the Jungles of Laos…
Above Photo: A Rare Sight – An Indian Civet Cat alive and in the jungle in Laos
As any traveller through Laos will know, you get to see a lot of wildlife – although most of it is unfortunately dead and for sale in rural markets. Civet cats, especially, seem to be hunted and killed in huge numbers for meat.
It was therefore with some surprise and considerable pleasure that I looked at these photos of live Civet cats in Laos (well, they were alive when they were photographed, at any rate), on the website of www.programs.wcs.org, having seen so many dead ones on my travels through the country.
The hunting of wild animals in Laos is depleting its jungles of wildlife. In almost every local market I have visited, every day, dead jungle animals are for sale. I contacted the wildlife ministry in Laos to ask some questions about the bush meat trade last year, but didn’t receive the courtesy of a reply, so I assume they don’t really care that much about it.
I also read a superb – if appalling – article about the hunting of tigers in Laos here: http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0420-wildlife_trade_in_laos.html
In neighbouring Thailand, where many jungles and national parks resemble animal ghost towns through over-hunting, Laos has a perfect case study in what can go wrong if the government is too weak, corrupt, unconcerned or ineffective to protect a country’s wildlife over a prolonged period.
I only hope Laos can stamp out, or substantially reduce, its jungle meat trade, before it’s too late.
For POWs left behind in Laos, see:
© Peter Alan Lloyd
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