Snares to Wares is a community-based conservation initiative dedicated to improving human livelihood and protecting wildlife in and around the village of Pakwach, Uganda. This project simultaneously transforms human lives and addresses the problem of wildlife poaching by empowering local artisans to repurpose wire snares into sculptures of the wildlife that would otherwise fall victim to snaring. Proceeds from the sale of these sculptures flow directly into the community to sustain these transformations.
By seeking true and meaningful collaboration with the community in Pakwach, Uganda, we discovered that the answer to how we can best help their community was already there waiting for us. Tutilo & Bob were walking through the village that borders Murchison Falls National park, and noticed kids’ toys made from the same wires that were used to create the wire snares found in the national park. This discovery sparked an abrupt realization that the “poaching problem” was actually a human livelihood issue. Snares to Wares is focused on not only removing wire snares from national parks, but is offering employment opportunities for the communities directly affected by these issues.
Dr. Robert Montgomery, Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University and Tutillo Mdumba, a PhD student at MSU from Pakwach, Uganda, started this initiative together. With collaboration from MSU students and faculty and Ugandan artisans, conservationists and students alike, Dr. Montgomery and Tutillo Mdumba have expanded this initiative from a small group of people passionate about conservation to a movement involving hundreds of people, spanning across continents.
MSU-Snares to Wares started as a conservation initiative and grew into a class at Michigan State University. Students of all majors and backgrounds come together twice a week and combine their talents in a collaborative effort to grow Snares to Wares into a widespread conservation movement. The class is led by four faculty members at MSU from Fisheries and Wildlife, Packaging, Arts and Letters and Residential Arts and Humanities. The faculty members act as “coaches” to the students, helping to guide projects and support the students ideas.
Uganda-Many of the proceeds from Snares to Wares offer education opportunities for students from Uganda to study conservation at Michigan State University. By being involved in Snares to Wares, you are providing Ugandan students with the opportunity to further their education at MSU. This sponsorship program allows Ugandan students to have direct involvement in the conversation surrounding wildlife conservation in their own countries.