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This socially-conscious jewellery brand is helping to combat animal poaching in Zambia

Image: @mulberrymongoose/Instagram
Image: @mulberrymongoose/Instagram

Jewellery brand Mulberry Mongoose is turning brutal animal poaching activities into exquisite hand-crafted jewellery.

The Zambian women collective are using the snare wire amassed by brave anti-poaching patrollers to create distinctive jewellery designs while raising money for conservation.

Each piece of jewellery by Mulberry Mongoose reflects the grace and ruggedness of the unique South Luangwa valley, where this socially-conscious business is based.

With every item sold, Mulberry Mongoose donates back to help fund anti-snare patrols in Zambia, with the brand having contributed over $122,000 to conservation since its launch in 2013.

Image: @mulberrymongoose/Instagram

In a process that is time-consuming, strenuous and highly skillful, the women of Mulberry Mongoose hammer, coil, sand and combine the refashioned snares with semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls and hand carved wooden beads to create these pieces.

Mulberry Mongoose has attracted the attention of leading publications as well as celebrities such as President Bill Clinton and international super model Doutzen Kroes, who have both worn their pieces.

Wear a ‘symbol of conservation’ and spark the conversation

The company is the brainchild of English founder Kate Wilson, a talented artist who is passionate about nature and the Zambian culture. “The name combines two parts of my life,” Wilson explained, “Mulberry’ from the mulberry tree in my old garden in England and ‘mongoose’ to represent the wildlife I live alongside in Zambia today.” The robust beauty of the South Luangwa, the untamed grace of its wildlife and gentle strength of the Zambian people inspired Wilson to start creating the unique jewellery.

Wilson explains her hope for spreading an anti-poaching message and attracting attention to the issue: “The much-asked question amongst women: ‘I love your necklace, where did you get that from?’ starts a conversation that leads to their friends learning about snare poaching. The wearer gets to share how each piece of jewellery is created by our lovely and courageous ladies and is made from locally made beads whilst it gives back to anti-snare patrols.”

Where style combines with social responsibility

Far more than just a jewellery company, Mulberry Mongoose is about empowering women, inspiring change and supporting communities through reinvestment. All of the materials that the business use in its jewellery is sourced locally in Zambia, whether it be the guineafowl feathers which help support a local livestock farmer, to their ‘chiteng’ material which is sewn and decorated by women in the community.

Snare poaching is one of the biggest killers of wildlife in Southern Africa

Poachers set wire traps causing the indiscriminate and painful maiming and death of iconic animals including lion, leopard and elephant. Thankfully, rangers patrol Africa’s wild spaces to collect the wire before it harms animals. Poacher’s snare wire is often made from stainless steel fencing and cables.

Visit WWF South Africa’s online store to view the Mulberry Mongoose range that include designs that are both beautiful and meaningful, and put money back into the African economy.

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