‘Snares to Wares’: Traps Once Used for Uganda’s Wildlife Are Now Transformed into Intricate Art

Snares to Wares is a non-profit initiative that helps artists to weave several locally captured snares into wire…
Snares to wares

Snares to Wares is a non-profit initiative that helps artists to weave several locally captured snares into wire sculptures of the National park’s wildlife. This initiative serves as a means of livelihood for local artisans. These artisans make sculptures from the wiring in poacher’s traps and sell them.

The largest national park in Uganda is a poaching hotspot with the commonest method being a wire snare that closes around the foot of an animal. Most times, poaching is done for meat since the communities around the park are some of the poorest in Uganda.

Snares to Wares is an initiative introduced by Robert Montgomery who is a wildlife ecologist at the University of Michigan State and Tutilo Mudumbu, a National Geographic Explorer. The initiative now has about 620 artisans who sell about 800 sculptures on average in a month.

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Some years ago, Mudumbu was carrying out research on the utilization and distribution of snares in the national park when he thought about the idea. According to Mudumbu, wildlife is a threat to most of the poor people living around the park as they trample or eat crops when they leave the park’s boundaries.

He was very surprised when he realized that many villagers didn’t know what the wildlife in the park looked like, so he sponsored some field trips into Murchison Falls. The villagers were able to study the animals and learn how they behave. The inner artists were also allowed to take shape as the park’s wildlife was observed.

Murchison Falls has seen a drastic resurrection for the past decade, with an upgrade in the policing capabilities of rangers. The populations of predators are also on the increase with the conviction rate of poachers about 97%.

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