It’s easy to tell someone to stop wildlife poaching. But its much harder to provide alternative livelihoods to make it really happen.
Wildlife poaching has been around forever. Snaring, spearing and shooting wildlife for both the wildlife trafficking syndicates and the bush meat trade are not new. However, what is new is the scale at which wildlife is being poached. Many species, including the iconic rhino, the little known pangolin, the mighty elephant, and even the ‘king of the jungle’ the lion, are being poached at alarming rates for their body parts.
Three Ways to Stop Wildlife Poaching
There are basically three ways to curb this wildlife loss.
- One, end the demand for rhino horn, pangolin scales, elephant tusks, and lion bones.
- Two, protect these wild animals where they live with highly trained and equipped anti-poaching ranger teams. (Like Peter who protects rhino and just reported another kill free full moon cycle.)
- Three, provide poachers with alternative livelihoods.
Provide Poachers with Alternative Livelihoods
It’s this third key to stop wildlife poaching that Moses in Uganda is proving successful.
Moses really stumbled into this. About five years ago Moses wanted to raise more awareness to stop elephant poaching in Uganda. He joined the call for a global march to save elephants. He rallied local villagers. Got wildlife officials and others involved. After the March and his educational talk Moses found poachers willing to stop poaching. All they wanted was other livelihood options. Sounds simple enough! Wrong!
To get the monies needed for hosting a march that attracted close to 500 was daunting enough for a one person operation. To now take on finding alternative livelihoods in a poor rural area with very few resources and options… was a huge task. One that most of us would walk away from in a hurry.
However, Moses being the innovative man he is came up with a plan. Moses is great in coming up with mostly viable solutions. However, what he just doesn’t have is money to implement. Again, no worries, Moses reached out to Nikela and others online. He believed he was doing something of such importance that failure was not an option.
It didn’t take too long till Moses was building beehives, digging fish ponds and tilling vegetable gardens. Did it work? Did the poachers stop the killing?
Fish Farming a Viable Alternative Livelihood
Five years later Moses has over 40 former poachers (and their families) in his ‘expoacher group’. Four years ago we met the pioneers of this group. They told us stories of how they used to snare and spear. One very tall chap shared how he’d sneak up to a hippo and spear it just right. You don’t want to mess with hippos, they supposedly can snap a human in half with one bite of their mighty jaws. Did you know hippos kill more people than any other wildlife animal in Africa? And they’re not even carnivores!
Fast forward to October 2020. Moses and his group of reformed poachers are stepping up their fish farming game. They dredged, by hand, the old ponds, ordered 2000 fish flies (seedling cat fish) and fish food, and are about finished with the construction of the ‘fish house.’ This structure will serve as both storage shed and home for the project guard.
In six months these fish ponds will provide food for 40 families. This will mean 40 less poachers spearing and laying snares. Plus, Moses is confident that there will be enough fish to sell to at least 100 other villagers.
Can you see it? Not only does the project provide food but also an alternative livelihood.
Here’s where you and Nikela come in.
Moses is not able to build or sustain this on his own. Remember, he has the great ideas, but lacks the funds to implement them? The fish flies are paid for and the fish house is almost there too.
What’s needed now
Moving forward to sustain the project is where you come in.
Here’s how you can really make a difference.
It takes just…
$3 per day for the guard
$1.20 per day to feed 2000 fish.
That’s a total of only $4.20 a day or $29.40 a week to keep 40 poachers from killing and 40 families fed.
Where else can you do so much for so little?
Helping is easy.
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Nikela is a fundraising non profit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.