Graduate students at MSU are working to protect wildlife in East Africa.
It’s called the “Snares to Wares” iniaitive.
For people living in Pakwach, Uganda, a northern town near Murchison National Park, poaching means surviving.
Taking wire snares to capture wild animals around the leg or neck and sell them for bushmeat.
“Fasten this one to a pole with the hope that when something goes through it’s held tight,” says Tutilo Mudumba.
Tutilo Mudumba shows just how strong snares are.
Africa’s largest animals rarely break free from the tiny traps.
If they do, scars or legs are left behind.
Mudumba traveled to America to study at Michigan State University.
Not long after, he had an idea to help the people he knew back home.
“It started from identifying the needs of the local people as well as organizing the sources of materials and what they could do with them,” says Mudumba.
Realizing, the wires collected can be twisted and turned.
Easily manipulated into something else.. something beautiful.
“We recognize that what are they doing with the materials now. Wire snareing but on the side they were also doing some weaving,” says Mudumba.
Using those weaving skills to create art.
“Art that is representative of the same animals or individuals that would have been killed by the wire snares,” says Mudumba.
Calling it the “Snares to Wares” initiative.
Employing more than 200 people in Pakwach to produce sculptures and spread word of an alternative to poaching.
Removing threats to animals in the park and providing income to the people outside.
The artwork is currently displayed at the Detroit Zoo.
It is also sold in the MSU Surplus Store and online.
The money goes toward helping other students like Mudumba from Uganda travel to the U.S. to study at MSU.