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Michigan State students, Ugandans collaborate for wildlife

Cara J

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Students at Michigan State University are training to be the next leaders in wildlife conservation while helping people in Uganda develop novel solutions to conservation problems. The students are taking part in a course that involves them in a community-based conservation initiative dedicated to improving human livelihood while protecting wildlife in and around Pakwach, a village near Murchison Falls National Park. Students in the class hope to address wildlife poaching by empowering local artisans to repurpose poachers’ wire snares into sculptures of the wildlife that may otherwise fall victim to them. “In this course we have taught students how to unpack global problems,” said assistant professor Robert Montgomery, who co-directs the Snares to Wares Initiative with PhD candidate Tutilo Mudumba. Uganda’s largest national park, Murchison Falls possesses abundant wildlife and monumental landscapes, but it is blighted by rampant wire snaring, a method of subsistence poaching that uses material from discarded vehicle tires. The tires are burned to harvest the wire within, which is shaped into snares that are responsible for the deaths and maiming of lions, giraffes, elephants and other charismatic species of the park. Ugandan artisans craft the wire from poachers’ snares into wildlife sculptures. ©Michigan State University After [...]

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