The challenge of snares

Every day, hundreds of thousands of wire snares are put out by poachers across Africa.

In many countries, wire snares are used to trap animals for food, but they’re also set by poachers to capture other wildlife destined for the bushmeat trade. Often these snares end up killing or maiming wild animals, posing a considerable challenge to conservation efforts.

The impact of snares on wildlife is devastating. Snares are placed in an area of high animal activity and they cause suffering, pain, severe injury and death in caught animals. Snaring is becoming an increasing threat to wildlife populations across the continent and there is evidence to suggest that snares are probably among the highest killers of wildlife in Africa.

Unfortunately, snaring is one of three prevalent forms of poaching within Notugre along with night hunting (with dogs and flash-lights) and shooting. A total of 4,453 wire snares have been successfully removed from Notugre since the inception of the APU in 2018. The snares found by the APU are usually cheap and easy to make, mainly fashioned from metal wires – even wires cut from the old wildlife fences. The good news is that our new fence re-build is utilizing Bonnox which makes it virtually impossible to use for making snares.

‘Our APU rangers will tell you that a lot of their time and energy is focused on the removal of snares and these snares kill and maim hundreds of animals each year’ says Francois du Toit, Notugre Ecology Committee.

Rex Masupe, Head of the APU agrees. ‘The team remove snares daily, but every day there will be more snares set before we are finished’

Snares have a huge impact on biodiversity which in turn impacts the health of ecosystems. When we start to understand that every species is key and every species plays an important role, then we will start to understand the real horror of snares.

Francois du Toit confirms this, saying ‘Removing snares from Notugre is critically important to the ecosystem of the area and survival of some of the most enigmatic and important wildlife in the Tuli area’

However, the human livelihood aspect of snaring should not be overlooked. Simply removing snares from the landscape doesn’t address the needs of people who hunt for their livelihood. The future of rural communities and conservation are intrinsically linked, therefore the needs of the first must be understood and taken into consideration in order to effectively implement the latter.

See here for demonstration on how snares work