The Indiscriminate Wildlife Killer

Poaching, an ongoing global threat to wildlife, usually brings to mind bad guys with guns and machetes intent on stealing rhino horns and elephant tusks.

snare 1

Generally nature doesn’t make circles, this is a good rule of thumb in detecting snares in the bush.

But another poaching method, silent, yet just as deadly are snares. Relatively easy to come by telephone or cable wire is used to trap whatever comes into its path.

While some animals caught in snares will end up in the cooking pot, as many as an estimated 90% will be left to rot in the bush  -Nick Tucker: Horror of Snares, Africa Geographic.

The majority suffer a painful, lingering death.

baby ele in poach snare dswt

This baby elephant was found with a snare around its leg, cutting to the bone. Thankfully rescued in time by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, this little one was lucky. photo: DSWT

Rangers spend precious time and energy on snare detection and removal on a daily basis. While they may remove a number of snares from a given area, it is not uncommon they will find new snares in the same area the very next day. It is an ongoing battle to locate the snares before they do damage.

One poacher can set as many as twenty snares a day.

snare removal team

The Kibale National Park in Uganda employs an entire team to snare detection and removal 26 days a month. The team finds hundreds of snares a year. photo: Kibale Chimpanzee Project.

The damage is more expansive than typical elephant and rhino poaching, as it indiscriminately kills zebras, giraffes, lions, antelope, bushbuck, etc. It is problematic all across the dark continent as well as other parts of the world.

According to Nikela, no one really knows how many animals and birds are trapped and killed by snares for bushmeat and illegal trading.  We do know it ranks in the thousands, if not millions each year.

snares by ranger maxwell, photo nikela

This ranger and his team found 60 new snares in one month of patrolling their area, and 17 snares with trapped wildlife. photo Nikela

warthog wire art painted dog conservation fund

Some groups have turned recycled snare wires into an opportunity for awareness and funding for conservation through creating jewelry and art. This warthog was made via Art Center for the Painted Dog Conservation.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “The Indiscriminate Wildlife Killer

  1. What villains we are.

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