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‘A War on Nature’: Rangers Build Mountain Out of Wildlife Traps Found in Ugandan Park

Jul 5, 2023

“Over the past 10 years, we’ve removed about 47 tonnes of snares and bear traps,” says Michael Keigwin, the founder of Uganda Conservation Foundation (UCF), a charity that works with the country’s wildlife authorities.

Speaking from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Keigwin is referring to a set of photographs showing a 12-tonne pile of tangled snares and metal traps. The images, showing Ugandan government rangers posing with the traps, illustrate an African success story and a world of pain, say those who helped create it.

The 5,000 sq km park and its famous Nile River waterfalls once lent cover to the Joseph Kony-led Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), one of the world’s most notorious militant groups. By 2010, the LRA’s power had dwindled and almost as soon as the park was considered free of fighters, the Ugandan government’s wildlife authority began restoration work.

But the twin problems of tourist income lost during the Covid pandemic and the damage done to agriculture and fisheries by floods last year have created what Keigwin calls “a poaching crisis”. The past 18 months, he says, have been brutal and the teams are collecting about 100 new traps and snares every day.

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