Fashionably Wired

Fashionably Wired

Rene Ebersole
Published: 07/12/2007

Here's a new one for the record books of creative new uses and the environmentally reformed: Former poachers in the rural villages of Zambia are making fashionable necklaces and bracelets from the snares they once used for illegally hunting elephants, lions, and leopards. The jewelry, called "Snarewear," is product of voluntary co-op program known as Community Markets for Conservation, designed by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. It works like this: You give us your firearms and snares, and we'll give you the tools and the training to become organic farmers, bee keepers, gardeners, carpenters, and now, jewelry makers. In the five years since the program began, 40,000 snares and 800 firearms have been tossed on the ammunitions pile. Faced with hundreds of yards of rusting metal, WCS proposed that a Zambian jewelry designer, Misozi Kadewele, try to make something with the material. She and her crew twist the tangled snares and stud them with seeds from local plants, transforming them into harmless wearable art to be sold in Zambia's capital, Lusaka, and outside towns under the brand name "It's Wild!" (www.itswild.org) While saving countless animals from being killed and injured, the program is creating income; last year alone it grossed $350,000 in sales.

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