In many places in Africa, wildlife poachers will braid steel cables into snare traps and hide them in the forests, in the meadows, on the treetops (targeting giraffes) or directly spin the steel cables around the trees. When wild animals pass by, some of them may step into these snare traps. They will then get agitated and want to escape, but the harder they try and the more tightly the steel cables will lock them in and eventually cause injuries. These animals are very likely to end up dying due to infections. It is estimated that in Kenya each year there are almost 100 lions dying because of the snare traps, while other animals such as zebras, antelopes, African buffalos and giraffes are also targeted by these traps.
Why do poachers set up these snare traps? Here, we have to talk about the “bushmeat trade”. The bushmeat trade refers to the non-traditional hunting of non-game animals, such as wildlife animals, for meat. Poachers mix up non-game animals’ meat with game animals’ meat and sell the mixed-up meat to make money to live and feed their families. According to a report from a local Kenyan wildlife protection organisation named ANAW, 40% of the meat in in Nairobi’s meat markets is from the bushmeat trade.
Since 2014, China House has collaborated with ANAW to recruit volunteers on a rolling basis. Volunteers go to wildlife habitats near Nairobi, searching for these braided-steel cable traps placed by poachers and removing them, as well as rescuing wild animals harmed by the traps. Each time the searching lasts for a day, and within one day, volunteers are able to remove more than 100 steel traps.