Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) operates under a memorandum of understanding with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and is governed by a constitution and an annually elected Board. Click here to download the constitution.
Zambia’s elephant population fell from 35,000 in the 1970s to only 6000 in the 1990s. With increasing poaching becoming a significant problem in the LZNP concerned local safari operators and other stakeholders recognised a need for organised support for the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS now ZAWA) operations in the area.
Once registered as an NGO, CLZ began to assist the NPWS and the Chiawa community with conservation efforts. Over the past 8 years the Royal Danish Embassy and DANIDA funded the establishment of the CLZ Base Camp, Environmental Education Centre, mobile education unit, equipment, media promotion and safari guide training.
CLZ now have a well-established base camp just outside the western boundary of the LZNP from which it can run effective operations. DANIDA funding ceased at the end of 2007 and since then, apart from individual grants, CLZ has relied solely on private contributions.
The need for CLZ
Today, a continued weak economy, limited resources for wildlife protection, competition with local farmers for land, the politics of wildlife legislation and a still very lucrative global market in ivory – all make it very hard for the Zambian elephant population to be properly protected. Unfortunately, the level of illegal ivory being seized worldwide is at reportedly high-levels (in some places expressed as higher than those experienced before the 1989 CITES ivory trade ban) as evidenced by the number of large consignments that have been seized since January 2009. Poaching therefore remains a very real threat to the eco-systems and environment of the Lower Zambezi with the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) highlighting Zambia as an active major source and transit country for illicit ivory smuggling, involving substantial volumes.
LZNP and surrounding GMAs are situated on the Zambezi River opposite the famous Mana Pools NP in Zimbabwe. It covers an area of 9615 km². Due to its location near to the capital city, Lusaka, LZNP is under constant threat of poaching, making it critical that this area continues to be protected.
The local warden and his team total around 146 people who are required to protect a total of 12,000 km² (including – LZNP, Chiawa GMA, Rufunsa GMA, Luano GMA, and Mazabuka) with a limited budget for food, supplies, uniforms and equipment.
Without CLZ there would be a much reduced number of patrol team deployments and this would mean a drastic increase in poaching and deforestation, especially due to the large illegal ivory, bush meat and charcoal trade in nearby Lusaka.
The CLZ Environmental Education Program provides local communities with access to information about their natural habitat and how to conserve it as well as assisting the local communities with solutions to human wildlife conflicts such as problem and crop-raiding wildlife. CLZ also assist communities to find alternative income generating activities in order to improve livelihoods of local people who might otherwise resort to snaring.
CLZ hope that in the future ZAWA will have the resources to be able to carry out law enforcement independently. However, in order for ZAWA to do so, CLZ will continue to provide support and assist with capacity building in the authority.
 Wasser, S. 2007 “Using DNA to track the origin of the largest ivory seizure since the 1989 trade ban”, Proceedings for the National Academy of Science