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YOUR conservation - OUR FOCUS

snare busters


To reduce incidents and impacts of wildlife poaching through snaring by collecting necessary intelligence and clearing areas of snares

 This is done through:

  • sweeping affected areas where snares have been for seen
  • gathering relevant data on snare sites, types of snares, species impacted, related poisoning incidents and any other relevant data
  • conducting and arranging rescue operations and veterinary care for animals caught in snares
  • establishing and supporting effective networks and partnerships to improve cooperation and synergy between relevant role-players
  • contributing to specific interventions in support of anti-poaching and species survival
  • providing input and support towards improving effective legislation, policies, prosecution, and legal processes
  • educating and raising awareness of the nature and extent of snaring and its link to vulture poisoning
  • facilitating sustainable funding for snare-sweeping operations


Many members of SA Hunters are active wildlife custodians that contribute to conservation, whether they are wildlife ranchers, wildlife managers, conservationist, or responsible hunters. These members choose to dedicate time and resources towards anti-poaching operations in view of the limited resources and lack of capacity of law enforcement to deal with the high incidence of poaching.

Several branches have been involved in snare sweeps to rescue animals from dying in snares or suffering a cruel death as a result of snaring. Previous snare sweep operations lacked functions such as data capturing and the use of information to proactively reduce the incidents. The Snare Buster initiative was established to improve the efficiency of snare-sweeping operations. When realising that similar work was being done by other conservation minded organisations, SA hunters partnered with those organisations for greater synergy.

In the Phalaborwa area, a memorandum of agreement was signed between SA Hunters’ Mopani Branch and the Phalaborwa Natural Heritage Foundation to cooperate in snare sweep activities through the Snare Buster initiative. In areas such as northern KZN, the Umfolozi Branch collaborates with SANPark Honorary Rangers to clear areas of snares. Together with our partners, snare removal operations are conducted in different parts of the country to rescue and release snare animals, or to facilitate veterinary care for injured animals.

During 2022, Mopani Branch assisted with nine snared wildlife rescue operations. Unfortunately, four of the animals’ injuries were severe and they could not be saved. These included one Waterbuck bull, one Impala ram, one Warthog sow and one Buffalo bull. Some of the snared survivors include one young Elephant bull, two young Spotted Hyena, one female Hippopotamus and one male Leopard. These rescue operations cost approximately R45,000, which escalates annually as snaring increases.

The Snare Busters initiative was developed with the intention to expand it on a countrywide scale and to encourage more branches to start their own Snare Busters initiatives in dealing with specific situations and challenges in the different landscapes. Hopefully, this initiative can grow and in time will provide the necessary data for more proactive interventions and programmes to reduce the impacts of snaring on wildlife custodians, the animals, and addressing the root causes of snaring.

How to Participate

Get involved in Snare Busters

  • Tell your friends and family about Snare Busters and advocate for more resources and funding to expand the positive impact of this initiative
  • Report any incidents to relevant authorities (such the relevant national, provincial, or local government offices, the South African Police Service or call the Environmental Crimes and Incidents Hotline on 0800 205 205 – or the local Snare Buster team)
  • Donate funding and resources to support the initiative
  • Actively participate in snare sweeping and removal of snares in your area as part of the Snare-Buster initiative.

For more information contact the SA Hunters’ conservation manager

Conservation in Action

Mopani Branch – Report August 2023
During the month of August 2023, members of the SA Hunters Mopani Branch and the Phalaborwa Natural Heritage Foundation (PNHF) conducted five snare removal operations through the Snare Busters Conservation project.

Four properties were patrolled, covering a total of 42 kilometres on foot.

205 snares were removed, the majority of which were large cable snares.

An estimated R4,500 worth in fuel was driven out by members and organisations involved.

44 persons attended the operations with an average of 1320 man hours spent during the operations.

33 carcasses were discovered while conducting the operations, include the following:

  • 1 adult zebra stallion, 1 adult mare with a foal
  • 3 adult female impala, 1 juvenile male impala
  • 2 adult giraffe, unknown gender
  • 1 juvenile male kudu, 1 adult female kudu
  • 4 adult cape buffalo bulls, 3 adult cows, 4 sub-adults of unknown gender
  • 1 trophy blue wildebeest bull
  • 2 elephant calves, unknown gender
  • 1 adult Spotted Hyena, unknown gender
  • 1 adult Side-striped Jackal, unknown gender
  • 6 adult domestic cows, africanus race

All the snares removed were made from material that was stolen from fences surrounding the reserves and properties. The large cable snares come from the elephant-proof fences surrounding the Greater Kruger National Park. These fences have thick cables that consist of four to five strands of cable wound up around a sisal rope to form the larger cable used to make it elephant proof. The poachers unwind these larger cables and use the individual strands to create snares.

We removed 1451 snares since January 2023.

Ons het terugvoer ontvang van Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Oos-Kaap en die Wes-Kaap oor die skerp toename in strikke in die veld. Mopani-tak in die Phalaborwa-omgewing het tydens sy onlangse Snare Buster operasie, 213 strikke op 35ha verwyder – dit is een strik elke 67 sekondes. By ʼn vorige geleentheid is 374 strikke in dieselfde gebied verwyder. Verskeie groottes strikke word gestel om van duiwe tot duikers en vlakvarke te vang. Buiten dat diere ʼn stadige en pynlike dood sterf, het hierdie onwettige praktyk ʼn negatiewe impak op die ekologie van daardie gebiede. Strikke wat hoofsaaklik uit draad en kabels bestaan, word gewoonlik in wildpaadjies en by heinings geplaas. Grondeienaars word aangeraai om veral laatmiddag of vroegoggend patrollies te doen om strikke te verwyder. SA Jagters loods binnekort ʼn nasionale Snare Buster inisiatief waarby meer takke betrokke kan raak om die voorkoms van strikke te bekamp.

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