Arguably the biggest killer of our wildlife in the current economic climate, are snares. With the national unemployment levels being at an all time high of 45%, and the population of humans exploding in Southern Africa, many desperate people are turning to bushmeat to survive. The easiest way for them to get this bush meat, is via snaring. It is estimated that in Mozambique alone, up to 365,000 tons of wild bushmeat, with an estimated value of US$700 million, is illegally harvested each year.
A snare is nothing more than a simple loop made out of rope or wire, easily placed on a game path with a high frequency of animal traffic, to catch unsuspecting prey. With wire being readily available and easy to use, a single poacher can set hundreds of snares along a game path in a single day. The biggest issue with snare is that they are non-discriminatory, and not only catch the antelope species that the poachers are targeting, but they also catch a huge number of predators such as lion, leopard, wild dog and hyena.
Death via snare is an excruciatingly painful and slow way to die, as the animal struggles and the wire tightens around their neck or leg. Often the stronger predators such as lion and hyena break the snares off the bushes where they are set, but the snares remain on the animals. These predators are often seen wondering in game reserves.
Our emergency fund ensures we can send a vet team straight away once a wounded animal is located, as by the time the animal is found often a lot of damage has already occurred. Rarely the animals are found after having the wires for a day or less, and more often than not, by the time the animal is seen, and a vet team is deployed, it could have been up to three weeks, and the animal often has deep lacerations and massive infections.