Lets face it; the media can get us down at the best of times and especially when it comes to conservation. Poaching, especially of elephants and rhino in African continent attracts the attention of media, the sad reality is thousands of other species are also dying on a daily basis through the bush-meat trade as a result of snaring.
These small species are fundamental to the ecosystems that sustain life on Earth. By taking more than nature can replenish, we are jeopardizing our own future. Their decline is an indicator of the damage we are doing to our ecosystems. It is a grave warning that we must not ignore.
While it must be granted that some of this snaring is genuinely for the subsistence of impoverished communities, the vast majority of animals are killed through greed for the commercial bush-meat trade.
Game scouts/rangers dealing with this bush-meat trade face poachers that are often armed with weapons like spears, bush knives and even firearms and who are often accompanied by packs of hunting dogs. Scouts need to carry out regular snare sweeps that will often net dozens of snares at a time that have been carefully hidden along game trails, water sources and in thick bush where they are difficult to find.
Where the snares are found freshly laid, game scouts will lie in ambush for hours waiting for the hunters return. When some of the poachers are actually caught, the judiciary often sees this as a “minor crime” and hands out weak or no sentences.
Moreover, often these deadly rings of wire are forgotten by the poachers and can lie in the bush for years randomly catching any animal that wanders past. Sometimes the animal manages to break free and then dies a slow painful death due to the infection from the terrible wounds. Wildlife is being decimated at all levels and our conservation staff/partners need our full support in undertaking their difficult and often dangerous duties.