We often hear about illegal hunting and trapping in areas of Africa and Asia, but unfortunately this activity is just as prolific on our own doorstep in Europe. Unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of rare and endangered wildlife, in the belief that there is little chance of being caught in such remote and vast forests. Large traps are just as scary to us as they are to wildlife, well camouflaged and laid on tracks that we regularly use. Lets face it, if they are large enough to trap the leg of a wolf or bear, then they are just as dangerous to humans. Illegal trapping is fast becoming as big a threat to wildlife as habitat loss and unauthorised hunting.
The above trap is a snare loop which would quickly tighten around the body of any unwary animal unfortunate enough to pass through it whilst wandering along this track.
Once we had dismantled the snare loop, we soon discovered another trap. Barni was walking in front when noticed disturbed foliage across the path. On closer inspection he noticed a large gin style trap that turned out out to be large enough to trap the leg of a bear. Please take the time to watch the following video footage outlining the sequence of events, from discovery to removal of the trap. Once we had uncovered the trap by carefully removing the foliage, we then had to activate it before separating it from the anchor.
Unfortunately we did not have a hacksaw with us, so we had to sever each wire strand using a knife before removing the trap from the tree. This was a lengthy process so we were constantly vigilant for the possible return of the poachers. Once detached, we carried both trap and snare out of the forest to prevent further use, leading to unnecessary death and injury. You can only imagine the terrible suffering these traps inflict on wild animals. We have also been informed that poachers rarely check their traps daily, so the suffering can go on for days. It is not unknown for wolves in this predicament to chew through their own legs to enable escape. We also heard that when poachers do eventually return, they then brutally kill the animal with an axe, as a gunshot could attract attention and give away their position and illegal activity.