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Snare today. Gone (is) tomorrow.

It was a warm sunny afternoon on the second day of our #RESET2021 life-changing adventure. We were on a four-day hike in the Greater Kruger, carrying everything with us including our food and tents.

We had a good trek through the bushveld and felt excited about some of the sightings we had already seen like the three elephant bulls that surprised us earlier in the day. We spotted them on the other side of the river; then we hid in some bushes as they passed about 30 meters from us. We tried to trail them, but even their normal gait was too fast for us and we lost them after a few hundred meters.

RESET 2021 in the Greater Kruger

It was still relatively early when we found a spot next to the river and we set up camp immediately. We then took the opportunity to relax next to the river and get a break from the heat of the day. Our guide asked who wanted to join him in collecting firewood for the night; several of us volunteered. It was an opportunity to explore and perhaps encounter something interesting.

We walked away from the river up a gradual incline which led to the start of the mopane bushveld. Mopane trees can be shrubs or trees that can reach up to 30 meters high. Some people call them butterfly trees because the leaves resemble the wings of a butterfly.

We kept close to the guide as we entered the mopane trees because buffaloes are notorious for sleeping under these trees during the day. They are not animals you want to surprise, and even less while they are sleeping.

As I bent down to pick up a medium-sized log, a perfect circle in the low-hanging branches caught my eye.

Upon further investigation, I realised it was a wire snare. I called the guide over and we all came together to study the snare. This is what I enjoyed about our guide, the fact that he made every encounter a learning opportunity.

First, he asked who would set the snares. We guessed poachers which was correct. But, then he explained there was a village about 15 kilometers away and some of the people may set the snares for food - bush meat.

Second, he asked where they got the wire from. Before I could give a smart answer of a "hardware shop", someone correctly guessed the fence surrounding the reserve. "Yes," he said, "isn't that convenient?"

Third, he showed us how the snare had been set up. Upon close inspection you could see the perfect wire circle being suspended between the branches with fine strips of bark. The other end was anchored to the tree trunk. We then took 15 paces back to get a feel for why the poacher decided to set the snare up in that location.

The guide pointed out how the mopane trees created a natural path towards the snare trap.

Furthermore, by looking at the well-trodden path, it was clear that the animals frequently walked this route and were therefore easy targets for walking straight into the snare.

Lastly, the guide asked what size of antelope the snare was set for. This was a difficult question to answer because how can you choose the size of the animal that walks into your snare? We guessed that the snares were for small to medium antelope, but the question then would be what happened when a large animal (like a buffalo or rhino) was caught? "Well," said the guide;

"The snare hopefully breaks and does not stay stuck on the animal. Unfortunately, many big animals are wounded by smaller snares."

The guide removed the snare. We then continued to search for firewood.

"I found another one!" one of the adventurers shouted. "Me too!" shouted another. Pretty soon we were all removing snares. We even found a cable snare which was set for a buffalo, hippo or rhino.

We made our way back to the campsite and counted the snares. We found and removed more than 20. It felt great to remove the snares and know that you saved an animal's life.

We carried the snares with us for the rest of our hike. They were a constant reminder of the good deed we had done.

Hester and Nicolai with the snares we removed.

The Adventure Life Lesson

At Inkwazi Adventures we believe there is a life lesson (or lessons) in every adventure. By removing these snares, it made me think of three lessons we could learn from the experience.

1. Look out for each other. We are all at risk of walking into a 'snare' at some point. In our digital lives this may even be things like digital fraud and scams. Always be on the lookout for snares, and protect your family and friends from walking into them.

2. Do something today to make tomorrow better and safer. What you do today has an impact on tomorrow. Whether it is recycling, going green or planting a tree. Look for opportunities that will make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today.

3. When you see something, do something; don't just leave it. Action speaks louder than words. What you walk past is what you endorse and tolerate.

There is a saying that we regret more the things we didn't do than the things we did do.

The bushveld TV was the perfect place to reflect on the day's adventures.

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