The Zambian artisans repurposing wildlife traps as jewelry


On the northern banks of the Zambezi lies a landlocked nation that’s all too aware of the specter of poaching. Zambia’s wildlife has suffered enormously in previous years, particularly from using snare traps, however because of the concerted effort of native organisations like Mulberry Mongoose, you’re now extra prone to uncover magnificence than brutality in Zambia’s nationwide parks.

At Intrepid, we firmly consider that wild animals must be seen doing what they do finest: dwelling within the wild. That’s why all our wildlife-themed journeys give travellers an opportunity to contribute to conservation and the native communities defending wildlife. And for those who journey to South Luangwa in Zambia’s east, you’ll be capable to spend an unforgettable afternoon with the artisans at Mulberry Mongoose, a workshop reworking snares set by poachers into lovely items of jewelry impressed by the African panorama.

A woman in a jewellery studio handing another woman a cool drink

Based in 2013 by British expat Kate Wilson, Mulberry Mongoose was born out of the assumption that with the intention to really feel good, everybody – together with animals – should profit. The enterprise helps fund anti-poaching initiatives, gives employment for native Zambians and offers these travelling by way of Jap Africa an opportunity to buy a memento that not solely seems to be good, however does good too.

“Snares are an enormous concern and the most important killer of our iconic wildlife,” says Kate, “and you’ve got all this snare wire saved throughout Zambia, throughout Africa, actually. It’s a legal responsibility as it could possibly get stolen and re-used, so the concept of repurposing one thing like that was actually necessary. It’s additionally actually difficult to show snare wire into jewelry, however rural Zambians have unbelievable ingenuity and creativity with their fingers. The work performs to, and celebrates, their strengths.”

Kate mentions Grace, considered one of ten artisans at the moment employed by Mulberry Mongoose, for example of the affect the enterprise has had. “She [Grace] has twelve folks in her dwelling and is the one one making a wage. She got here to me six years in the past needing a job and we have been very affected by her. Again then, we have been utilizing males to show our snare wire into beads as a result of it’s actually tough and also you want loads of power, however the males got here and went as they typically discovered work elsewhere. We informed Grace that if she may make the snare wire into beads, we may make use of her, so she got here in daily, with blisters on her fingers, till she figured it out. Her tenacity was extraordinary. She pushed by way of to make it work and now she’s considered one of our greatest jewelry employees. She additionally got here up with considered one of our mottos: there’s no candy with out sweat.”

By reworking one thing ugly into one thing folks need, Mulberry Mongoose has already raised $130,000 for wildlife conservation. “Mongooses survive within the bush by searching for each other and we’re the identical,” says Kate. “We add worth on so many ranges, be it conservation donations, rural employment or encouraging folks to purchase from native artisans. And the mulberry, that’s in our identify as a result of we create one thing lovely and supply an important service. We don’t compromise on high quality as a result of we’re very distant and our workforce comes from rural Zambia. It’s an attractive workshop and we concentrate on offering a very superb service for our prospects.”

Close-up on hands crafting a piece of jewellery out of nuts

The workforce at Mulberry Mongoose delight themselves on being a store much less extraordinary. It’s like a inventive oasis and travellers will probably be greeted, Kate says, with one of the best smiles within the enterprise. “You’ll get a full tour and be taught what snare wire is, then have an opportunity to work with the wire your self by hammering it on the anvil. The workforce love displaying travellers that and their heat and power is palpable. There’s the odd energy minimize, given the distant location, however in any other case, visiting here’s a actually particular expertise.”

Go to Mulberry Mongoose on Intrepid’s Vic Falls to Stone City journey, or the reverse itinerary, Stone City to Vic Falls.

And for those who love the work that Mulberry Mongoose is doing however received’t have a possibility to go to Zambia anytime quickly? Their jewelry will be shipped worldwide, that means you may share the story of the rangers, artisans and wildlife wherever you’re and, better of all, look mighty advantageous whereas doing it.



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