Snare Removal: Help Save Chimpanzees
Watch the video to see images from our Snare Removal Program in Uganda. *Please note: video contains images that may be too graphic for children.
What would you do?
Imagine what it would be like to have your arm trapped in a wire or rope snare or metal “man trap.” You have no tools. The more you try to free yourself, the tighter the snare pulls and the more you injure yourself.
There seems to be no one who can save you.
What would you do?
If you were a Ugandan chimp caught in a snare you might just get lucky.
You see, in Uganda, citizens and local officials call the Jane Goodall Institute when they learn of a chimp caught in a snare. Our staff veterinarian, Peter Apell working closely with the Ugandan government, moves quickly to free the chimp from the snare, providing medical attention before releasing him or her. The process of safely tranquilizing, treating and releasing a wild chimpanzee is both complex and risky, and in 2005 a JGI-lead team was one of the first to do this successfully.
The leader of his chimpanzee group, Kigerere was moving through the forest one day and suddenly tripped a snare.
Hunters in Uganda set such snares for pigs, antelope and other prey more abundant than chimpanzees. But these illegal snares capture as many as 25 percent of chimps in Uganda. They’re typically made of metal or wire, and therefore easily hidden. And they are viciously indiscriminate.
When an animal struggles to escape, it only tightens the snare. Some animals chew limbs off in a desperate attempt to free themselves.
Of course, Kigerere tried desperately to free himself. The chimps in his group brought him food and stayed by him as he struggled to survive. But Kigerere couldn’t loosen the snare and he couldn’t save himself.
This story is not a happy one but unfortunately it’s not unique. One out of four chimpanzees are injured or killed by snares in Uganda. We are working to prevent other tragedies like this from occurring through our Snare Removal Program in Uganda and the Republic of Congo.
This program is a simple but innovative community-centered project:
- We scour the forest floor and remove the illegal snares
- We use handheld GPS systems to mark snare points, then use that data to map out high-risk areas for snares
- We give the snares to local women to use in arts and crafts such as greeting cards – an income source and a way to spread the word about chimps and poaching
- We hire former poachers, because they know where to look for snares, and they now have an alternative livelihood to poaching
With your support to keep these innovative programs going and to expand these efforts to other parts of Africa. Please consider a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute and help us prevent these tragedies from occurring.
This chimp lost his foot to a snare. (M. Horiuchi)
JGI confiscates Illegal snares. (CSWCT).