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Recent observations of the illegal trade in serows in Lao PDR

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TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 29 No. 1 (2017) 37
Report by Boyd T.C. Leupen, Lalita Gomez
and Chris R. Shepherd
The serow is an elusive creature that is highly
sought after for its meat and parts. Belonging
to a mammalian group known as the goat-
antelopes, the serow is a bovid species with
long legs, pointed ears, a long and coarse-
haired coat with a mane of longer, sti hair on the neck,
a relatively bushy tail and short, slightly curved horns
with ringed corrugations. Serow taxonomy has been
subject to much debate and change over the past few
decades and has yet to be completely resolved. Presently
the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species recognizes six
species, all within Asia: the Japanese Serow Capricornis
crispus, Formosan Serow C. swinhoei, Sumatran Serow
C. sumatraensis, Chinese Serow C. milneedwardsii, Red
Serow C. rubidus and Himalayan Serow C. thar.
The Japanese Serow (endemic to Japan) and the
Formosan Serow (found only in Taiwan) are both
classied as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species (Chiang and Pei, 2008; Tokida,
2008) and have been fairly well studied. In contrast, very
little is known of the four remaining species, especially
those from South-east Asia. Based on the IUCN Red List
assessment, the Sumatran Serow, which is classied as
Vulnerable, is considered to be in signicant decline
across its range (Duckworth et al., 2008a). The Chinese
Serow, Red Serow and Himalayan Serow are listed as
Near Threatened and also believed to be in decline
(Duckworth and MacKinnon, 2008; Duckworth et al.,
2008; Duckworth and Than Zaw, 2008), yet surprisingly
little attention is given to their plight in the region, or to
their current status and conservation needs.
The Chinese Serow is still considered to be relatively
widespread in Lao PDR (Duckworth et al., 2008b). Yet in
the last decade, the country has emerged as a major hub
in the illegal international wildlife trade, which may be
attributed to weak environmental laws, poor enforcement
and the high levels of corruption that have persisted over
the years with little improvement (Martin, 1992; Nooren
and Claridge, 2001; Anon., 2015; EIA, 2015; Gomez
et al., 2016; Krishnasamy et al., 2016). This trade has
been considered for some time now to be the leading
threat to numerous species in Lao PDR, with records
indicating depletion of taxa as diverse as cats, deer,
pangolins, birds, snakes, turtles and even insects across
the country (Nooren and Claridge, 2001; Phanthayong,
2008). According to Nooren and Claridge (2001),
domestic demand for wildlife in Lao PDR, whether for
subsistence, traditional medicine or trade, is high and
increasingly unsustainable, as evidenced by the rarity of
species despite the availability of forest habitat.
Serows in South-east Asia are threatened by
widespread poaching and illegal trade. Almost
everywhere they occur, they are reportedly hunted for
their meat and their parts which are used in traditional
medicines (Duckworth et al., 2008a; Duckworth et
al., 2008b; Duckworth and Than Zaw, 2008). Serow
parts have consistently been observed during surveys
of wildlife trade in markets and restaurants undertaken
across South-east Asia (see: Martin, 1992; Shepherd,
2001; Shepherd and Krishnasamy, 2014). The same
has been observed in Lao PDR where serow parts
were commonly found in trade in both rural and urban
markets (Duckworth et al., 1999). Bones, feet, blood,
teeth, innards and other body parts are widely used in
local traditional medicine production, while the horns
are coveted as trophies. There are also records of cross-
border trade in serow parts from Lao PDR to China,
Thailand and Viet Nam (Duckworth et al., 1999).
Fig. 1. The distribution of Chinese Serow
Capricornis milneedwardsii.
Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
38 TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 29 No. 1 (2017)
for sale. Restaurants were omitted from the surveys
due to time constraints. Surveyed venues were visited
opportunistically, meaning that no predetermined list
of venues was used during the surveys. These venues
consisted almost exclusively of local markets. In these
markets, each individual traditional medicine and fresh
meat retailer was considered a “shop”, as were roadside
stalls, vendors at bus stations and at tourist attractions
such as caves and waterfalls. In some locations, such
as Boten Specic Economic Zone and Golden Triangle
Special Economic Zone, tourist-oriented traditional
medicine and trophy boutiques were surveyed. Only
those shops that were found to have serow products for
sale are specically mentioned in this paper.
The wild meat trade in Lao PDR is known to be
largely seasonal (Nooren and Claridge, 2001). Although
a year-round activity, hunting usually increases during
the dry season (Johnson, 2005; Johnson et al., 2010),
which runs from November until the end of April. This
study’s two most intensive surveys took place during that
period, suggesting that the wild meat quantities recorded
are representative of the annual peak in the country’s wild
meat trade. Serow items were categorized as ointments
(small bottles and large bottles), horns, frontlets (serow
plates consisting of a piece of skull with fur and two
horns still attached—these horns were considered part of
the plate and were not separately counted as horns), skin
pieces, skeletal items (bones, joints, jaws and skulls),
meat and body parts (manes, hooves, scalps and ears).
In cases where large numbers of a particular item were
found (this was mostly the case with bottled ointments),
exact quantities could not be determined and estimates
were made. Horn fragments, which were found in several
locations, were counted as full horns because their
This study was undertaken to shed light on the trade
and its potential impacts on the remaining wild Chinese
Serow populations in Lao PDR, and to make some
recommendations for further action to ensure this species
is not lost from that country.
Conservation Status and Legislation
The Chinese Serow is the only naturally occurring
species of serow in Lao PDR. The species is also native
to Cambodia, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet
Nam (Fig. 1) (Duckworth et al., 2008b). It is currently
classied as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species, but is nonetheless believed to be in
signicant overall decline (Duckworth et al., 2008b).
While the Chinese Serow is thought to be widespread,
especially in the country’s eastern, central and southern
mountain ranges where there are relatively large tracts of
suitable habitat (Duckworth et al., 2008b, J.W. Duckworth
in litt., 2017), little precise information on the conservation
status of serow in Lao PDR is available. This lack of data
complicates conservation measures, as it has for many other
large ungulates in the region (Shepherd and Krishnasamy,
2014), which are thought to be in rapid decline due to
over-exploitation to supply markets with meat, antlers,
horns and other body parts (Steinmetz, 2010).
In Lao PDR, the Chinese Serow is nationally protected
under the Lao Wildlife and Aquatic Law 2007. It is listed in
the Prohibition category, under which species are dened
as “rare, near extinct, high value and (…) of special
importance in the development of social-economic,
environmental, educational, scientic research”. The
unlicensed extraction and/or possession of any animal
(or its parts) listed in the Prohibition category is strictly
forbidden and could result in a ne of at least LAK400 000
(Lao Kip) (approximately USD24.00) and/or a prison
sentence of three months to ve years. Lao PDR has
been party to the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
since May 2004. The Chinese Serow is currently listed
in CITES Appendix I, which means that international
commercial trade in wild-sourced specimens is prohibited.
Market surveys of the open availability of serow items
and products were carried out in various locations in the
country on three dierent occasions in 2016 (between 18
and 28 April, 19 and 22 July and 6 and 20 December
respectively) in order to provide a snapshot of the trade
in serow. The rst two surveys took place in Lao’s
central and northern regions; the third was carried out in
the country’s southern provinces (Fig. 2). The locations
were selected on the basis of previous research into the
country’s wildlife trade during which outlets oering
traditional medicine and fresh meat for sale were visited
(Martin, 1992; Nooren and Claridge, 2001; Nijman and
Shepherd, 2012; EIA, 2015). These two types of retailer
were chosen for their likelihood of having serow items Fig. 2. Survey locations for serow study.
TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 29 No. 1 (2017) 39
such as Sambar Deer Rusa unicolor (Duckworth, in
litt., 2017) and several species of wild cattle. The
current study’s surveys only conrm this; serow was
the only species of which items were found at nearly
every traditional medicine shop surveyed. In particular,
ointments purporting to contain serow were widely
observed, often near containers of other serow body parts.
These potions are used to heal bone fractures and can be
bought for an average price of LAK15 000 (USD1.78) per
small bottle. The fact that the items recorded are estimated
to originate from at least 150 serows may be considered
a worrying nding. It nonetheless remains unclear when
these serows were poached (in the case of most medicinal
serow items this may have been years ago). As a result, it
is dicult to determine the potential conservation impact
of the medicinal trade on this species. However, the rate
at which comparably sized mammals have seen severe
population declines and/or local extinctions/extirpations
in Lao PDR and the fact that monitoring eorts are
largely absent, are cause for concern. Therefore, increased
research into the exploitation of serows for traditional
medicine (including inquiries into the turnover rates of
serow-based traditional medicine items) seems highly
necessary in order to guide future conservation and
enforcement eorts. Such research would have to start
with interviews with vendors, poachers and consumers.
Serow meat was observed in only two instances,
suggesting that serow poaching might play only a relatively
limited role in Lao PDR’s wild meat trade. However,
there are at least three reasons why such a conclusion
should not be too hastily drawn. First, the diversity of
species encountered during the surveys suggests that
poaching for meat in Lao PDR is largely indiscriminate,
with hunters harvesting whatever animals they encounter,
rather than targeting a specic species. This poses a direct
threat to serow which is likely to increase as other species
become scarcer. Second, wild meat observations are often
coincidental (especially in cases where it is oered on the
side of the road). Fresh meat is oered for sale as soon
as it becomes available to the vendor, which may be at
various times of the day. Because it is perishable, it is
sold as fast as possible. Observations should therefore be
considered snapshots and not representative of the true
extent of the trade. Third, restaurants were omitted from
this study’s surveys, making it impossible to determine the
size made it impossible for more than one fragment to
originate from a single horn. Information regarding the
price and use of the serow products was collected directly
from the vendors where possible. Prices were quoted
in Lao Kip (LAK) or US Dollar (USD). In the case of
the former, a conversion rate of USD1=LAK7963.24
was used (,
viewed on 12 January 2017).
Serow items were seen in 59 shops, with a combined
total of 1015 individual items recorded (Table 1). Most
comprised bottled ointments (approximately 740 bottles of
varying sizes). These ointments were conrmed on several
occasions to be derived from serow. In some cases the
vendor was asked to point out the animal that was used to
prepare these ointments in a photographic eld guide. Other
items observed in relatively large quantities included horns
(134), gallbladders (claimed to be from serow) (56) and
frontlets (28). Serow items observed were predominantly
ingredients for traditional medicine and as such, most
items were found in medicine shops (in 50 out of 59
cases). Several frontlets and horns were found in jewellery
shops (in seven cases). Serow meat was observed for sale
on only two occasions. All items recorded (excluding the
ointments) would have been derived from a minimum of
150 serows.
Discussion and Conclusion
Serow items are among the most commonly encountered
wildlife-based traditional medicine products in Lao PDR.
During household surveys carried out in Luang Namtha
province in 2002–2003, 90% of respondents (n=10)
stated that serow was the most frequently used animal in
traditional medicine production (Johnson et al., 2003), a
fact attributable to the depletion of other large mammals
Item type Quantity No. of
Ointment (small bottle) 630 (approx.) 36
Ointment (large bottle) 110 (approx.) 10
Horns 134 25
Gallbladders 56 12
Skin pieces 34* 6
Frontlets 28 13
Skeletal items
(bones, joints, jaws and skulls) 13 9
(manes, hooves, scalps and ears) 8 5
Meat 2 2
TOTAL 1015 59
Table 1. Serow items (per item group) reported during
surveys carried out in Lao PDR in April, July and
December 2016. *of which 25 pieces were likely to belong to
a single specimen. These pieces were observed in a box, were
cut into uniform sizes and appeared to involve the same pelt.
Pieces of serow skin, bone and jaw, Pakse market (left);
serow frontlet, bones and horns for sale, Thongnamy
(right), December 2016.
40 TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 29 No. 1 (2017)
levels of serow meat that are traded through this channel.
In order to gain a better understanding of the serow meat
trade and consumption patterns in Lao PDR, further
research is highly recommended. Such research should
include interviews with vendors, poachers and consumers
and more extensive and frequent surveys of fresh meat
markets, roadside stalls and, importantly, restaurants.
Enforcement eorts are currently weak in Lao PDR,
allowing the open trade of (inter-) nationally protected
species, including the Chinese Serow, to continue
unhindered. This was underscored by the abundance and
open availability of illegal serow products found in the
country’s traditional medicine shops. Vendors are generally
aware of the illegality of the trade, but do not seem to fear
prosecution. When asked about the illegal wildlife trade,
a local policeman in the Savannakhet area stated that this
is not a priority for local law enforcement, in part because
the trade provides nutrition and/or income for the rural
population. In the case of serow, hunting and trade is
illegal, and therefore should be made a law enforcement
priority. Increased enforcement is all the more important
because the depletion of other large mammals appears to
leave Laotian serows particularly vulnerable.
The authors would like to thank Will Duckworth for his
helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
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Boyd T.C. Leupen, Consultant
Lalita Gomez, Programme Ocer, TRAFFIC
E-mail: Lalita.Gomez@tra
Chris R. Shepherd, Regional Director—Southeast Asia, TRAFFIC;
E-mail: chris.shepherd@tra
... Its precise range in Myanmar is poorly known but it has been found in the north and possibly west of the country (Castelló 2016; Shepherd 2021). In general, serow are widely hunted for their meat which is eaten and for their body parts which are used as ingredients in traditional medicines, throughout their range in mainland Asia (Shackleton 1997;Shepherd and Krishnasamy 2014;Leupen et al. 2017;Phan et al. 2020). In Myanmar, serow are heavily hunted and traded for their meat which is usually consumed by the hunter and the hunter's family, and perhaps close neighbours and extended family, and parts are sold for use in local traditional medicines and as trophies or talismans. ...
... Johnson et al. (2003) noted that during household surveys in northern Lao PDR, nine out of ten respondents stated that serow was the most frequently used animal in traditional medicine production. Focussing solely on serow, Leupen et al. (2017) observed the equivalent of at least 150 serow for sale throughout Lao PDR. Serow have been reported in trade for their meat and for their body parts used in traditional medicines in Malaysia as well (Shepherd and Krishnasamy 2014). ...
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In Myanmar, the hunting and trade of wildlife are increasingly recognised as a major threat to the persistence of species. We here focus on the trade and conservation of wild sheep and goats (Caprinae; Antilopinae) as these species are indeed hunted and traded for a variety of reasons. Seizure reports from 2000 to 2020 and 20 visits to four wildlife markets between 1998 and 2017 resulted in records of ~ 2,000 body parts, the equivalent of ~ 1,200 wild sheep and goats. When combined with data from previous surveys conducted over the same period, the number of wild sheep and goats recorded in trade increase substantially, i.e. serow (the equivalent of 1,243 animals), goral (213 animals), takin (190 animals), blue sheep (37 animals), and Tibetan antelope (10 animals). With records from 10 out of 15 States, trade appears to be widespread and persistent over time. There was poor concordance between seizure data and trade observations, but data from various surveys are largely in agreement. The most prevalent body parts in trade were horns, followed by plates (the frontal portion of the skull with horns still attached) and heads of freshly killed animals. These parts are offered for sale both for decorations and for their purported medicinal properties. Meat, fat, and rendered oils were observed frequently but because of mixture with other wildlife, it was challenging to confirm species identify or to convert this to number of animal equivalents. Tongues and eyes were offered for sale as medicine. In order to better protect wild sheep and goats in Myanmar, it is imperative that the illegal trade in their parts is more effectively curbed than at present. This is the responsibility of both the Myanmar authorities and, given the high prevalence of trade in border towns, their international partners, including China and Thailand.
... Serow horns and heads are also traded as decorations and trophies. Surveys of wildlife markets in Southeast Asia show that serows are one of region's most utilised group of species, despite being totally protected across their range (Lekagul, 1965;Shepherd & Krishnasamy, 2014;Krishnasamy et al, 2019;Leupen et al, 2017;Nijman & Shepherd 2017;Shepherd, 2021). In some parts of their range, they have been extirpated due to poaching, sometimes in combination with habitat destruction (Shepherd & Krishnnasamy, 2014). ...
... Based on commodities seized (i.e., mostly heads and horns), the trade in serow parts appears to be mostly for traditional medicine and perhaps trophies. This corresponds with findings elsewhere in Southeast Asia observed with an active trade in serows, their parts and derivatives (Leupen et al, 2017;Nijman & Shepherd, 2017;Phan et al, 2020). A recent study on the use of wildlife for traditional medicine in Indonesia found that serow is often used to treat skin and infectious diseases (Mardiastuti et al, 2021). ...
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Mainland serow are in decline in Southeast Asia with poaching for illegal trade being a major driver. In Indonesia, where this species is found only on the island of Sumatra, the illegal wildlife trade is widespread and impacts numerous species and it is therefore not surprising to find serow in trade. Using seizure and prosecution data from 2014 to 2021, a total of 13 seizure records were obtained, involving an estimated minimum of 32 mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis). While legislation is in place in Indonesia to protect serow from poaching and illegal trade, meaningful penalties are seldom handed down. In an absence of effective deterrents, illegal trade will continue to be a threat to the conservation of this species.Kambing hutan daratan utama mengalami penurunan di Asia Tenggara yang mana perburuan untuk perdagangan ilegal menjadi pendorong utama. Di Indonesia, di mana spesies ini hanya ditemukan di Pulau Sumatra, perdagangan satwa liar secara ilegal terjadi dimana-mana dan berdampak pada banyak spesies, oleh karena itu tidak mengherankan jika ditemukan kambing hutan dalam perdagangan ilegal tersebut. Dengan menggunakan data penyitaan dan penuntutan mulai tahun 2014 hingga 2021, diperoleh total 13 catatan penyitaan, dengan perkiraan minimal terdapat 32 ekor kambing hutan (Capricornis sumatraensis). Meski undang-undang telah ada di Indonesia untuk melindungi kambing hutan dari perburuan dan perdagangan ilegal, namun hukuman yang dijatuhkan jarang sepadan. Tanpa adanya pencegahan yang efektif, perdagangan ilegal akan terus menjadi ancaman bagi upaya pelestarian spesies ini.
... Currently, the Mainland Serow is facing two main threats, i.e. over-poaching and habitat loss. Overpoaching, especially using snares to supply local and regional markets with meat, horns and other body parts has caused a rapid decline of this species in Southeast Asia (Steinmetz et al. 2010;Shepherd and Krishnasamy 2014;Leupen et al. 2017). Forest encroachment and clearance in protected and nonprotected areas where this species exists are likely to have had a significant impact. ...
... Cambodia has also experienced the most rapid deforestation rate globally, between 2001 and 2014, and approximately 1,150 km² of the protected areas in Cardamom Rainforest Landscape have been lost to Economic Land Concessions for industrial agriculture (Davis et al. 2015), thereby reducing the mountainous habitat for mammals, including the serow in the whole country (Gray et al. 2017). In Lao PDR, serow horns, skull bones, leg bones and other body parts are used for traditional medicine and were recorded in 59 shops, and these items should be derived from a minimum of 150 serows (Leupen et al. 2017). There is a cross-border trade in almost all parts of the serow from Lao PDR to Thailand, Vietnam and China. ...
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The Mainland Serow, Capricornis sumatraensis, occurs across eleven countries, including China, Southeast Asia and Himalayan range. However, its populations are fragmented, isolated and in rapid decline due to poaching, habitat loss and destruction throughout its range. These factors, together with unavailability of reliable data on the abundance and distribution of this species, make it difficult to implement effective conservation actions for long-term conservation. Therefore, the Mainland serow qualifies as Vulnerable because of a decline exceeding 30% over three generations as inferred from local surveys, decline in occupied area and habitat quality as well as actual levels of exploitation. The species requires urgent conservation actions to avoid further decline in the population
... This demand, notably for food, 'pets', ornaments, traditional medicine, and superstitious use, threatens many animals, including rhinos and elephants. Poaching and wildlife trafficking in countries near China increased from the 2000s for many endangered mammal species, including tigers, Panthera tigris (Nijman and Shepherd 2015) and the elusive serow, Capricornis sumatraensis (Leupen et al. 2017), as well as birds, reptiles and amphibians. Timber from endangered hardwoods is trafficked in huge quantities to China, despite legislation (UNODC and Freeland 2015; ACET 2019). ...
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In much of tropical Africa a breakdown in law and order, corruption and an influx of firearms led to heavy rhino and elephant poaching, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. I collected and analysed data to reveal the collapsing numbers of rhinos in Africa. Although we had general trade information, we needed more understanding of the soaring smuggling and consumption in order to combat it. I carried out extensive fieldwork in the main market at the time: North Yemen (Yemen from 1990). From the 1980s I regularly monitored the trade in rhino horn used for prestigious curved dagger (jambiya) handles, updating information on smuggling routes, prices, and demand. I worked with Yemenis on education campaigns, encouraged substitutes, and assisted policy makers, with Esmond Martin, who was to become my long- term research colleague. In the Indian subcontinent, home to most Asian rhinos, we also worked with officials and local people on strategies to fight rhino poaching and smuggling. And in eastern Asia we surveyed consumer markets for rhino horn used in traditional Oriental medicine to close down illegal trade. Around 2010 demand escalated once again causing serious rhino poaching, this time mainly in South Africa for customers in China and Vietnam, but again information was lacking. I surveyed illegal markets and collected prices of rhino horn, in order to strengthen legislation and enforcement. Demand for elephant ivory also rocketed from about 2010 onwards and we learned newly moneyed undiscerning Chinese consumers were eager to acquire mass-produced ivory items. We carried out market surveys in key illegal African and Asian markets to alert decision makers to control the surge in trafficking and unregulated retail sales, mostly for mainland Chinese. A new Chinese diaspora and the internet encouraged this lucrative trade, fuelled by corruption, mismanagement and apathy in many regions. Human population pressure on valuable natural resources is rising, resulting in climate change and wildlife crime increasing, and biodiversity in wild habitats more threatened, plus spreading zoonotic diseases. Compared with the 1980s there is at last growing attention to these challenges, including wildlife crime, in search of securing nature for a healthier, safer planet.
... The trade and consumption of serow however is more prominent for domestic use in Southeast Asia, where meat is consumed and parts used in traditional medicine (Duckworth et al., 2008;Shepherd and Krishnasamy, 2014). Serow heads, horns, skins and as a form of trophy are also commonly observed in open markets and stalls throughout the region (Duckworth et al., 2008;Shepherd and Nijman, 2007;Li, 2014;Shepherd and Krishnasamy, 2014;Anon, 2016;Anon, 2017;Leupen et al., 2017). ...
Technical Report
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Poachers in Malaysia are facing stiffer penalties for illegally hunting Serow, that is in demand for its reputed power to fight everything from an itch to witchcraft. An analysis of legal action in 18 seizure incidents involving the Sumatran Serow scrutinised penalties meted out by courts in Peninsular Malaysia from January 2013 to April 2019. It showed that a cumulative MYR1.7 million (USD404,070) in fines and 93 months in prison time were given out by courts in four convictions in the latter part of the study period beginning 2017. In contrast, penalties in the five known convictions from 2005–2010 resulted in a cumulative fine of just MYR8,400 (USD2,384) and three months jail. The highest penalties ever were for an offence in 2017 with fines totalling MYR1.2million (USD300,000) and 48 months imprisonment given to two Malaysian men convicted of illegal possession of the animal’s head and other parts in a forest reserve in the state of Pahang. The court also determined the duo would have to spend a further six months in jail if they defaulted on the fines.
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INTRODUCTION T here is limited information on the ivory trade in Lao PDR but the presence of Asian Elephant Elephas maximus populations and a geographic position—situated between the world's largest ivory traders Thailand and China—as well as the presence of ivory for sale in the country, may suggest an emerging role for the country in the international ivory trade. Six towns known for their involvement in wildlife trade were surveyed in order to quantify the levels of open trade in ivory. In three of these towns, ivory was observed for sale, with the vast majority in Vientiane. Here, 2391 pieces of ivory, including bangles, earrings, name seals and raw tusks, were openly offered for sale in 22 outlets. Information from vendors indicated that the ivory originated from Lao PDR and not from neighbouring countries (Thailand, Viet Nam) or Africa, but forensic analysis would be necessary to determine the origin of the ivory more precisely. Prices were advertised in US dollars or Chinese Yuan Renminbi, clearly suggesting an international clientele, a fact confirmed by most vendors. However, recent seizures data also suggest that Lao PDR may also be playing a transit country role for African ivory.
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Given the relatively recent development of wildlife regulations in Laos, and the lack of understanding of the linkages between natural resource management, poverty and malnutrition, the aim of this study was to examine the impact of increased natural resource governance on the sustainability of wildlife offtake and, consequently, on household food consumption and dietary adequacy. Given our knowledge of the underlying causes of wildlife decline, our assumption was that the adoption of national guidelines for natural resource governance will, over time, contribute to increases in managed wildlife populations and their eventual, sustainable offtake. This will, in turn, result in greater availability of wild meat for subsistence consumption, contributing to increased food security, especially for those households in the low income strata. On a broader scale, this study explores the extent to which a reduction in malnutrition is contingent upon effective natural resource governance, especially in light of unprecedented land-use pressures.
Large ungulate populations in Southeast Asia have collapsed due to commercial poaching, but little is known about patterns of population recovery after poaching has been controlled. Using a sign-based index of abundance, we measured 6-year trends in abundance and habitat use of five ungulate species after poaching ceased at a site in Thailand. Regression slopes of annual indices against time indicated population growth rates (r) of 0.44 and 0.31 for muntjac (Muntiacus muntjak) and gaur (Bos gaurus), respectively—close to the intrinsic rates of natural increase for similarly-sized ungulates. Thus, muntjac and gaur can recover relatively rapidly from low population levels. In contrast, sambar (Cervus unicolor) remained consistently rare despite freedom from hunting, perhaps because prime males had been selectively targeted for trophies, disrupting the species mating system. Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) were already relatively abundant when monitoring started, illustrating their resilience to hunting and ability to quickly recolonize disturbed areas. Gaur herds (the key demographic unit of the population) and muntjac consistently selected deciduous over evergreen forest as their populations increased, revealing the importance of food-rich deciduous forest in driving recovery of these species. The unexpected failure of sambar to recover suggests that reproductive behavior may override seemingly positive interventions (i.e., stopping poaching) that reduce mortality. Small but well-protected recovery zones set within forested areas might help propel population recovery of ungulates and increase the prey base for endangered tigers.
Wildlife seizures in 2014 highlighting Lao PDR's role in trafficking
  • Anon
Anon. (2015). Wildlife seizures in 2014 highlighting Lao PDR's role in trafficking. Viewed 4 July 2016.
Application of Article XIII In the Lao People's Democratic Republic. SC67 Doc. 12.1. CITES Sixty-seventh meeting of the Standing Committee
  • Anon
Anon. (2016). Application of Article XIII In the Lao People's Democratic Republic. SC67 Doc. 12.1. CITES Sixty-seventh meeting of the Standing Committee Johannesburg (South Africa), 23 September 2016 ( sc/67/E-SC67-12-01.pdf).
Capricornis swinhoei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • P J Chiang
  • K Pei
Chiang, P.J. and Pei, K. J-C. (2008). Capricornis swinhoei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T3810A10096148. 305/ IUCN.UK. 2008.RLTS.T3810A10096148.en. Viewed 6 January 2017.
Capricornis thar. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
  • J W Duckworth
  • J Mackinnon
Duckworth, J.W. and MacKinnon, J. (2008). Capricornis thar. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008:
Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 status report. Vientiane: IUCN-The World Conservation Union/Wildlife Conservation Society/Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Management
  • J W Duckworth
  • R E Salter
  • K Khounboline
Duckworth, J.W., Salter, R.E. and Khounboline, K. (Eds) (1999). Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 status report. Vientiane: IUCN-The World Conservation Union/Wildlife Conservation Society/Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Management. Vientiane, Lao PDR.