an extinction crisis driven by unsustain-
able levels of commercial hunting (1).
This threat affects species both outside
and within protected areas and is driving
the extinction of some of the planet’s
most distinctive and imperiled mammals,
including the saola (Pseudoryx nghetin-
hensis) and tiger (Panthera tigris), while
also decimating populations of many
“common” terrestrial mammals (2).
In Southeast Asia, as in many other
tropical regions, homemade wire snares
are the predominant hunting method.
Such snares are cheaply constructed
from wire or cable and target animals
indiscriminately, killing or maiming any
INSIGHTS | LETTERS
OUTSIDE THE TOWER
Young science officers lead by example
It is a rainy morning in May 2016, and I am standing with a group of middle and high school students outside the west board room of the Eisenhower Ex- ecutive Office Building, just steps from the White House. We are preparing to brief Dr. John Holdren and Ms. Megan Smith of the White House Office of Sci- ence and Technology Policy about changing the way science is perceived among
our peers and communities.
We are representatives from a program called the Chief Science Officers (1),
founded by Jeremy Babendure. A Chief Science Officer (CSO) is a 6th- to 12th-
grade student, elected by his or her peers, who has an interest in STEM and innovation and a passion for effecting change in his or her school and community. The
now 300-strong cabinet of students from across Arizona, and soon to be across the
nation, works both independently and cooperatively to introduce new STEM programs at the school, community, and state levels. We run STEM demonstrations,
promote science spirit weeks, and meet with government officials to plan how to
better integrate science with the community.
We are ushered into the meeting room. As we take our positions, I anxiously
practice my part of the talk. After what feels like an eternity, the door opposite us
opens, and Dr. Holdren, followed closely by Chief Technology Officer Smith, greets
us with a warm smile. We introduce ourselves, discuss our interest in science, and
describe how we are getting our friends engaged with STEM. He asks us questions
about why we became CSOs and our goals for the program. As the meeting adjourns, Dr. Holdren drums on the table and grins, telling us he really wants to see
the CSO program go national. We leave the meeting feeling energized—I can’t wait
to start a nationwide cabinet of student STEM advocates.
Chief Science Officers, Chandler, AZ 85286, USA.
1. Chief Science Officers ( chiefscienceofficers.org).
Student advocates met with
officials at the Eisenhower
Executive Office Building.
individual that encounters them. Snares
generate substantial wasted by-catch,
which is often left to rot in the forest (3).
Nonfatal injuries from snares jeopardize
animal welfare. Snares are completely
unselective, resulting in capture of non-
target species, females, and young. They
particularly affect mammals that cover
large ranges, including many Threatened
species (as classified by the IUCN) that
have vital ecological roles in forests (4).
Hundreds of thousands of snares are
removed from Southeast Asia’s protected
areas annually (1). Yet law enforcement
patrols and dedicated snare removal
teams have proved largely ineffective,
given the trivial costs of snare place-
ment. In Southern Cardamom National
Park, Cambodia, for example, the number
of snares removed by law enforcement
patrols increased from 14,364 in 2010 to
27,714 in 2015 (5).
Only legislative reform that penalizes
the possession of snares, and materials used for their construction, inside
protected areas can combat this ongoing
wildlife crisis in Asian forests. Without
such reforms and their enforcement, the
specter of “empty forests” (6) will become
even more likely.
Thomas N. E. Gray,1 Antony J. Lynam,2
Teak Seng,3 William F. Laurance,4
Barney Long,5 Lorraine Scotson,6
William J. Ripple7
1Wildlife Alliance, Chamcamon, Phnom Penh,
Cambodia. 2Wildlife Conservation Society, Center for
Global Conservation, Bronx, N Y 10460, USA. 3World
Wildlife Fund Greater Mekong, Chamcamon, Phnom
Penh, Cambodia. 4Centre for Tropical Environmental
and Sustainability Science and College of Science
and Engineering, James Cook University, Cairns,
QLD 4878, Australia. 5Global Wildlife Conservation,
Austin, TX 78767, USA. 6Department of Fisheries,
Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University
of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA. 7Global
Trophic Cascades Program, Department of Forest
Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University,
Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
1. R. D. Harrison et al ., Conserv. Biol .30, 972 (2016).
2. J. W. Duckworth et al ., Surv. Perspect. Integr. Environ. Soc.
5, 77 (2012).
3. D.Risdiantoetal., Biol.Conserv.204B, 306(2016).
4. W.J.Ripple etal., Sci.Adv.1,e1400103(2015).
5. T. N. E. Gray et al ., Gajah 45, 41 (2016).
6. K. H. Redford, BioScience 42, 412 (1992).
Erratum for the Letter “Response to ‘Forest
value: More than commercial’” by C. B. Barrett
et al., Science 355, aam7177 (2017). Published online 13 January 2017; 10.1126/science.aam7177
256 20 JANUARY 2017 • VOL 355 ISSUE 6322 sciencemag.org SCIENCE