Helping Zambia Wildlife Authority protect elephants and other wildlife in the Lower Zambezi
In the last century, rampant ivory poaching and habitat loss caused African elephant numbers to drop from over ten million animals in 1900 to fewer than 500,000 by the late 1980’s. Although elephants began to recover in some African countries throughout the 1990s, we are currently experiencing a dramatic resurgence of uncontrolled hunting for ivory and meat, and loss of habitat in the past decade which could eliminate elephants from many parts of Africa, including Zambia.
CLZ’s environmental protection role includes:
- facilitating the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) by providing food rations, transport and logistical support for ZAWA patrol officers who complete 10 day long, five-man patrols and snare sweeps in the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) and surrounding game management areas (GMAs);
- assisting in the management and deployment of a Community Village Scout Unit also conducting wildlife protection patrols. In 2013 CLZ selected and trained 20 high cailbre scouts to increase capacity in the local wildlife authorities.
- assisting in the treatment and rehabilitation of injured and snared animals, e.g. in 2011 and 2012 CLZ assisted ZAWA, the Veterinary Department and the University of Zambia with a response to the Anthrax outbreak and succeeded in protected the lion population of the LZNP.
CLZ have a strong working relationship with the ZAWA Area Warden of the Lower Zambezi Area Management Unit and the rest of his team at ZAWA Chirundu Command. We also work closely with ZAWA Command Controls at Chinyunyu (North of the Park) and Luangwa (East of the Park) and assist them with rations and transport.
On average we assist 12 ZAWA patrol team and 8-10 Village Scout deployments per month. Each team of five men spends ten days patrolling the bush to detect and deter illegal activities. When necessary, CLZ provide food rations, transport in and out of ZAWA Commands, first aid kit, logistics support and 24 hour communication. CLZ have also provided training to patrol team leaders in GPS device use and all patrol team tracks are downloaded onto Google Earth software in order to be able to assist ZAWA in improving wildlife protection methods.
The LZNP covers an area of 4095 km² and is bordered on the south by the Zambezi River and on the north by the Zambezi escarpment. As with most national parks, three types of poaching occur in the Lower Zambezi: commercial ivory; commercial bushmeat; and subsistence (mostly snaring). Lack of scout equipment, training, morale and leadership are some of the challenges faced. On top of this due to the lack of funds and resources currently at ZAWA’s disposal, CLZ also assist with support for the Rufunsa GMA and their two commands, Chinyunyu and Luangwa Boma. This increases our coverage area by another 3179 km², to 9615 km².
Aerial Wildlife Protection Operations
Using the CLZ Cessna 172 Reims Rocket, kindly leased to us at a nominal rate by Rentworks and Glenn Goodall, we are able to offer aerial support and back up to patrol teams operating in the park. Aerial patrols are invaluable for spotting carcasses and signs of illegal activity.
In October CLZ conducted an aerial survey of elephant and large mammal populations, results will be available by the end of the year. This was supported by US Fisheries and Wildlife Service.
Injured Animal Assistance
CLZ responds to reports of snared and other injured animals in the Lower Zambezi, and with the help of the Zambia Wildlife Authority vets, endeavours to treat and rehabilitate all such animals.
In 2011, CLZ successfully rescued and rehabilitated a buffalo calf, which was relocated to Liuwa Plains National Park to increase the genetic diversity of a breeding program in the area.
CLZ also rescued the youngest orphan elephant calf ever rescued in Zambia in November 2011 “Zambez” now being cared for by the Elephant Orphanage Project will hopefully be reintroduced into Kafue National Park, Zambia when possible.
In February 2013 an orphaned hippo calf was rescued and rehabilitated at CLZ until his relocation to Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust three months later. It is also hoped that the calf will be released back into the wild in South Luangwa when possible.