Snares are a widespread and serious problem here in Southern Africa. It is a highly effective method that involves low effort from the poacher and is inexpensive. Wildlife that manage to escape seldom survive without human intervention, and often succumb to their injuries.
Illegal snaring is a poaching method that condemns animals to a slow and painful death.
It is estimated that tens of thousands of animals are illegally poached each year using wire snare traps, but the true magnitude of this silent killer is unknown. Snares are an indiscriminate poaching method and a key contributor to the disappearance of vulnerable and endangered wildlife in Africa. Species ranging from elephants to lions and warthogs are killed or maimed, suffering a painful death.
Snaring primarily contributes to the illegal bush meat trade, with poachers trespassing onto private reserves and government land to place these traps. Essentially, a snare is a wire noose anchored to a strong branch or trunk that animals walks through. They pass their head, neck, body, or limbs through the loop and as the noose catches on other parts of their body, it begins to tighten. The animal usually panics and tries to run, which immediately pulls the loop completely tight against the skin. Animals struggle for hours or days trying to free themselves, embedding the wire into the skin, muscle, and often, down to the bone.
The majority of snare poaching is for the illegal bush meat trade. Poverty, unemployment, lack of education, greed, and criminal syndicates are significant contributing factors to this problem. When we invest in our local communities' youth, their education, higher education, and job opportunities in conservation, we are also indirectly impacting this problem.
SFW also volunteers alongside other organizations that organize volunteer groups to conduct "snare sweeps" for protected wilderness areas or private reserves. Snare sweeps often result in dozens of snares collected from the bush, big and small. Can you spot the snare in this photo with our president, John? Snares are often rusty and match earth tone colors in the bush and make them difficult to find. Poachers will even set decoy snares as a distraction.
Unfortunately, many of the wildlife that are killed by snares are completely wasted. Traps may be set and left for days or weeks or never checked again, and animals are left to rot in the wilderness: a complete waste.
SFW is also proud to partner with Down to the Wire, a local South African small business, to help bring their line of impactful, hand-crafted jewelry to North America. We are sharing their story with those who care deeply about conserving African wildlife and wilderness areas.
Down to the Wire repurposes these lethal snares collected by volunteers into unique jewelry, raising additional funds for conservation and spreading awareness about Africa's silent killer. A portion of funds raised are made available to a select group of wildlife veterinarians, who have dedicated their lives to making a difference within wildlife conservation. When snared animals are located that are still alive, these funds help to cover costs of treatment and rehabilitation.
Kids to Kruger
Our current community-related fundraising objective is to bring local children on educational field trips into Kruger National Park. The more we educate our youth, the more we can impact the poaching problem.