As an organisation with a mission based around conserving wildlife and maintaining the integrity of the ecosystem in the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), CLZ hosts a number of programs and projects that all feed into this overall goal. While scouts are out patrolling on the frontline, a lot of work happens behind the scenes. A day in the life of the camp exposes the various activities that make up a holistic framework for successful conservation!
From Saturday night into Sunday, we had…
A pangolin rescue and release:
Following intel from DNPW and Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP), trained DNPW officers rescued a live pangolin in Chiawa. Three suspects were apprehended and at 7pm the pangolin was brought to CLZ and was safely released back into the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Detection and tracking dogs being trained:
The DNPW Dog Unit at CLZ started operations in August 2016. Since then, we ensure that when the dogs are not in the field on operation, the handlers go in on a daily basis to bond with the dogs and train them. This is Bar and his handler Sheleni Phiri, the video from Sunday shows a snippet of three commands (among many others) that Bar follows: Come, Sit and down.
A housing extension for the Special Response Unit (SRU) being built:
While CLZ assists DNPW with patrol teams to cover a larger range of the Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas (GMAs), we are also developing a Special Response Unit that will be a team of highly skilled officers working with the patrol teams, IIU’s and K9 Unit to respond to poaching incidents. Two new rooms to house 6 officers are being constructed at CLZ base camp.
Teachers undergoing environmental education training:
As part of our Environmental Education Programme, the Environmental Education Manager, Besa Kaoma teaches a 3-day course to teachers in villages around the Lower Zambezi National Park. On Sunday CLZ had 28 teachers from Luangwa and Rufunsa areas being trained on how to educate children about wildlife conservation. There was also an exchange visit with the GRI Educator.
Operations office following up on an elephant carcass:
CLZ houses an operations room that is monitored 24/7 by both DNPW and CLZ staff. Richard Hamoyo, a Wildlife Police Officer was following up on an elephant carcass found in the GMA.
An aerial patrol:
CLZ has been conducting aerial patrols since 1998. These patrols allow us to see the LZNP and surrounding GMAs from a bird’s eye view, allowing us to see things that may otherwise not have been spotted by a foot patrol. On Sunday, the aerial patrol was happy to report they spotted no illegal activity.
A new Maintenance Manager:
Dale Roche joined the CLZ management team this Sunday. He spent the day meeting the staff, familiarizing himself with the area and getting a head start on his tasks. Welcome Dale!
Grant applications being written:
CLZ is able to run because of the many generous organisations that fund our operations and the camps that are members. Cesca Cooke, the newly promoted General Manager, was working on a very important grant application this Sunday, ensuring that our projects stay funded and we continue to assist in the fight for wildlife conservation in the Lower Zambezi.
Film crew making videos:
A film crew from UK were visiting CLZ on Sunday to get footage of the Lower Zambezi National Park and interview staff that had worked with Solomon Chidunuka. Solomon, the former Senior Warden in this area, has been shortlisted for the Tusk Trust “Wildlife Ranger” Award later this year.
On Sunday, CLZ had over 50 people in camp. We need to ensure that everyone is fed well to be able to handle the important work they are doing. Here we have Davy, Agness and Derrick in the kitchen, who put together a colourful lunch for a group of people at camp.
Teams in the field:
DNPW had 6 wildlife protection patrol teams in the field that were supported by CLZ. Team “Vulture” was responding to gunshots heard around 06:00 hrs on Sunday morning, and team “Giraffe” was verifying the elephant carcass that was reported on Saturday morning. Teams are often deployed from the Kulefu base located in the LZNP. At Kulefu base on Sunday, the road crew were being resupplied with rations, and team “Weaver” was being relocated.
A professional photographer capturing life at CLZ:
Scott Ramsay, professional photojournalist for Love Wild Africa, visited CLZ to donate his time and document the grassroots efforts that go into conservation. A special thank you to Scott for taking beautiful photos for CLZ to use in our campaigns, newsletters and for general awareness (some of them we used in this article).