“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - Gandhi
The name Cecil and the story behind the name have touched on a lot of heart strings over the past couple of weeks. The thought of poaching these beautiful animals stirs the pot. And even greater, the pleasure that someone gets from such an act provokes a lot of anger and outcry.
We feel the need to respond to this recent news. The story of Cecil brings attention to work that is being done and work that needs support.
Our work as a company focuses on economic opportunities for artisans in communities where jobs are scarce. This mission has taken our work to rural Zambia where not only do we find people struggling for work, we also find that this work involves a collaboration between people and wildlife.
In the South Luangwa Valley (Zambia), there exists an ecosystem of people and a vast array of wild animals - lions, elephants, wild dogs, giraffes, puku... As shared in our last blog, sometimes this relationship between people and wild animals can be challenged; particularly when interactions effect basic needs (see more here).
This area is largely dependent on safaris as an economic source where the appreciation of these animals is nourished. This area is also a place for hunting. After meeting with NGOs during our last visit. it was explained to us that through careful research and a watchful eye that hunting can be done in a more ethical manner. For example, a guide explained to us that the hippo population was overpopulated in the valley. So, for a duration of time hunting was opened up to include hippos.
What is not ethical is the use of illegal snare wire traps. A form of poaching, these wires are meticulously placed in areas such as watering holes and other popular spots for animals with the intention of strangling by the neck. This practice has impacted elephant, wild dog, and lions and among others.
We offer a counter to this practice: snare wire jewelry. Crafted and designed by Mulberry Mongoose (our artisan partners in Zambia), the jewelry is made with confiscated snare wire. A portion of the proceeds are donated to nonprofits doing on-the-ground work for wildlife conservation and anti-poaching efforts.
We know that economics, people and wildlife have an intertwined relationship. We also recognize that the sale of snare wire jewelry is just a small piece of the pie. Nonetheless, it's a statement. Will you wear the jewelry? It's saying that you support artisans through your fair trade purchase and that you do not support illegal poaching.
The benefactors of the jewelry sales include the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the South Luangwa Conservation Society - both doing important work on research in the area, anti-poaching efforts, animal rescue and human-animal mitigation (more in the last blog).
To make a purchase, please visit:
A beautiful video showing footage of Zambia, the poaching crisis and snare wire jewelry: