Elephant, lions, giraffe, hippo among others are wildlife poachers target for bushmeat and wildlife crime.
When life gets tough for humans the wild animals suffer too. Animals like lion, giraffe, hippo, antelope, pangolin and even the mighty elephant.
What do Wildlife Poachers do?
Wildlife Poachers lay snares, stalk with spears, and hunt with dogs. Some wildlife is hunted for the personal pot, while targeted species are sold for bushmeat or into the wildlife trafficking trade. Sadly wildlife crime is huge in Africa where lion body parts, pangolin scales, elephant tusks and rhino horn, to name a few, collectively sell for $23 billion US every year. Most poached wild animals end up in Asia.
Enter the “Good Guy”
Fortunately there are people like Moses Arineitwe. Moses was taught as a boy to love nature by his granny. Trained as a Field Guide he spent years looking for ways to help protect wildlife in his area in Uganda. When he did come up with good solutions he had no way to fund them. Moses like most in his area lives a humble life.
In 2017 we visited Moses. He introduced us to a small group of poachers, that is ex-poachers or reformed poachers as he likes to call them. Moses had convinced these wildlife poachers to trade their spears for shovels. Instead of hunters he invited them to become farmers.
However, Moses needed help to continue to assist them with alternative livelihood projects.
Projects like bee keeping, fish farming and growing vegetables. All these, not only to feed their families but to sell at the market. Nikela got involved.
Fast Forward to 2021
Since the day we spent with Moses his reach has grown tremendously. Dredging and stocking two fish ponds, building a fish house, growing all sorts of yummy vegetables and even building a small outdoor restaurant.
In early 2021 Moses held two very important anti-poaching workshops. One in his immediate area and the second near Queen Elizabeth National Park. The results of the second were way beyond what Moses expected. 38 poachers, including their leader pledged to trade their spears for shovels. Moses was both thrilled and terrified.
What do you do with 38 Reformed Poachers?
How could he possible help 38 families? One or two additional ones maybe, but 38?
Now two fish ponds, a fish house, solar lights and a fish guard later this reformed poacher group is off to a good start. This success led Moses to an even bigger idea.
Moses had a really long term thinking idea. A very, eventually, self sustainable idea. How about starting a communal micro lending project? Each member of the group would put money in and request a loan for certain money making ventures. Like a goat or chickens for example. Of course they would have to pay the money back with some interest creating a perpetual fund. This would be an ideal vehicle to support individual alternative livelihood initiatives.
The notion is already in motion. Every Sunday the group of 38 reformed poachers meet.
Each contributes what they can to the money pot. Moses reports that even 57US cents a week is a real stretch for most. Although a valiant effort, at this rate they’ll all starve, or return to poaching, before there’s enough money for anything. We decided to jump in.
Nikela has committed to raise $1000 to seed the pot. The need is urgent. Lock downs due to the COVID pandemic have made poor people even poorer. To help them and to protect wildlife we all must act quickly.
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Nikela is a fundraising nonprofit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.