Snares: Deadly for wildlife
Snares are, unfortunately, the cause of much suffering for wildlife in Zimbabwe. "Snares are exceedingly common in Zim," Marabini told The Dodo. "With over 90 percent unemployment and most people living below the poverty line, many people rely on bushmeat for protein. Almost every rural and wild area that is not routinely patrolled by rangers will be subject to snaring."
Although the snares are typically set for smaller antelope like duikers and impala, Marabini said, every animal is susceptible to them, including rhinos, lions and elephants.
If snared, elephants usually break the wire off. But it will continue to tighten around whatever appendage it is on, Marabini explained to The Dodo. "Trunks can be severed, although the [elephants] seem to fare OK so long as they have at least half a trunk. Snares around the feet will eventually tighten around the pedal bones, causing crippling osteitis [inflammation of the bone]."
But mostly, Marabini said, it's a mystery, because often the elephants simply disappear.
Finding an injured elephant
Knowing where an elephant generally lives is one thing. Finding his exact location is another. And darting him [to sedate the animal] is still another. But Marabini and Dutlow, along with a crew of conservationists, began the motions for all of the above.
"The elephants are fully aware they are being stalked. Every time the team maneuvers into a potential darting position the elephant turns to face them, shaking his great ears menacingly," Marabini wrote. "On more than one occasion Keith has to wave his arms and yell at the elephant, although this only serves to make him take flight, and run out of sight."