The Catching Hope Re-purposed Poaching Snare Program (Catching Hope) turns illegal hunting snares collected by rangers in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos into crafts by volunteers at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin. The zoo sells these crafts to raise funds for the IUCN Saola Working Group (SWG) and Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) to help save the species from extinction and to train and hire local people living near the saola habitat to remove more snares throughout the mountain area. The aim is to help local people as well as other threatened species. In 2016 Catching Hope expanded to commission 400 handcrafted fabric pieces by Hmong women in rural Laos, increasing the reach of education to conserve the biodiversity of the area.
Annamite Mountains, on the border of Vietnam and Laos.
The poaching and wildlife trade problem
Species affected Saola Pseudoryx ngethinhensis
Overview of the problem
Although saola are not usually specifically targeted, they are often caught in professional poacher snares, which are abundant throughout the area.
The anti-IWT initiative
When scientists discovered the antelope-like saola in 1992 on the border of Vietnam and Laos, the astonishing finding marked the first discovery of a large mammal in 50 years and spurred conservationists to action. Today, GWC is working with the IUCN Saola Working Group (SWG) to save the Critically Endangered species from extinction—and we’re getting some creative help from volunteers at Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, through their Catching Hope Re-purposed Poaching Snare program.
Catching Hope volunteers create artistic and one-of-a-kind dream catchers and key chains from illegal hunting snares that ranger teams in Vietnam and Laos have collected. The Zoo then sells the crafts to raise funds for GWC and SWG to train and hire local people living in and around Saola habitat to remove more snares from the forests of the Annamite Mountains on the border of Vietnam and Laos. This helps not only the critically endangered saola but also the local people and neighboring wildlife.
Increasing incentives for wildlife stewardship
Improving education and awareness
Has the initiative made a difference?
Between 2014 and 2016 volunteers had made and sold more than 2,000 crafts, with Catching Hope donating more than $7,000 to the Saola Working Group.
Organisers, donors and partners
IUCN Saola Working Group, Henry Vilas Zoo
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