As someone who loves jewelry, I discovered a delightful way to protect wild animals in Africa. This isn’t simply an advertisement for a cool jewelry business. Instead, I want to share how one business embodies important values in wildlife conservation.
“Us AND Them,” not “Us OR Them”
If we want to protect wild animals, we need to think about the people who live with them. How can both wild animals and people thrive? Can they rear their young, find food and live in relative safety? If they kill our animals or eat our crops, we’re going to view them as a menace or nuisance.
If shooting endangered wild animals or selling their meat/body parts generate good money, some will offer hunting for a price (disguised as conservation). Others will poach those animals (to illegally catch or kill an animal, bird, or fish on someone else’s property).
Many good organizations protect wild animals by dealing with these tough issues. And the best organizations partner with local people to find workable solutions. To get a deeper understanding, read His Royal Highness, the Duke of Sussex’s article, Conservation is Fundamental.
Wild animal from an animal communicator’s viewpoint
Once I connected with wild animals, I found they are complex beings. Many have strong family values and strong community values. They care about their kids and each other.
I don’t romanticize wild animals, though
While in Liwonde National Park, I stood with a friend on the bank of the Shire River. We were about 10 feet above the water. A crocodile floated quietly below, eying us. As we stood there, we shared our excitement about the hippos and elephants across the river.
Knowing the croc was watching us, I didn’t exclaim, “I come in peace, brother! Let’s play together because I’m an animal communicator and I love animals.”
In fact, I do have a reverence for animal life. But I heard his thoughts clearly --
“OK, potential breakfast, my greatest hope is you’ll slip and fall into my waiting mouth.”
Nope, not going to swim with the crocs.
Mulberry Mongoose helps protect wild animals
Mulberry Mongoose is a small jewelry store in Zambia. This store makes incredible jewelry from snares.
Maybe you’re like me. I didn’t understand what a snare was. It’s a thin, looped steel wire used to trap animals. Problem is, snares don’t discriminate as to which animal they catch, and they kill slowly. As an example, African Parks found more snares than big animals when they began managing Liwonde National Park in Malawi.
In this video, a person shows what it’s like to be caught in a snare.
Whew, that was tough to watch! Take a couple of deep breaths if you need to. Then send some good energy to the people who protect endangered animals, OK?
Supporting the local economy
From the Mulberry Mongoose website: “In an area where unemployment and poaching are a reality, every piece of jewelry sold helps us support our families and conserve this unique place that inspires our work.”
This business gives local women creative work and income. Additionally, materials are bought from local farmers and vendors. So more people prosper.
Supporting Wildlife Conservation
And the company gives a percentage of its earnings to Conservation South Luangwa! This group protects endangered wild animals through a partnership with local communities. The Mulberry Mongoose raised $100,000 so far for this nonprofit!
I loved hearing how Conservation South Luangwa figured out how to keep elephants from eating local farmers’ crops using chili peppers. I guess elephants don’t love the spicy stuff! Read their 2018 Annual Report for the full story!
Use your love for animals to guide your money decisions
My friend, Karen Campbell of Campbell’s Scottish Terriers, supports people in small villages. She does this by commissioning Scottie-themed items for sale. Karen found delightful Christmas ornaments made by people in India and Uganda. They’re fair-trade items. That means people are fairly compensated for their work. So Karen’s compensating people for work that is not harmful to wild animals.
I’d love to hear how you’ve been called to help protect wild animals and other animals!