AGM

CLZ AGM 2024

AGM Wednesday 25 April 2024
09.30 Hrs
Southern Sun Ridgeway

Minutes of the 2023 AGM

2024 AGM Agenda

Proxy Form

Nomination Form

Committee

Chair – Jill Morse
Vice Chair – Cesca Cooke, Riccardo Garbaccio
Treasurer – Peter Malao
Secretary – Carrol Fleming

Current Board Members

Stephen Mwansa
Mehluli Malisa Batakathi
Kristina Kesch
Suzyo T Mwanza
Grant Cummings
Jelous Nyandowo
Juri van Zyl

Isabel Kamanga – CLZ Intern Blog

My name is Isabel Kamanga, I hold a BSc in Agroforestry attained from the Copperbelt University.

In the month of August 2023, I was given the privilege to work with Conservation Lower Zambezi and my experience with the organisation was amazing as I learnt a lot. During my time at CLZ, I was part of a team that carried out extension work in different communities of a Chiawa Game Management Area (GMAs) and taught various community members on the importance of wildlife conservation and the negative implications associated with not practicing it through the Anti-snare Campaign. It is during this time that I was able to have a face-to- face interactions with people who frequently experienced human-wildlife conflicts and was able to disseminate information on how this could be resolved in order to promote human and wildlife coexistence.

In the last week of my internship, I was part of a team that trained school going children about conservation.  The training was conducted through the use of visual aids and park visits as this made it easier for the children to realise the importance of what they learnt in school and what they saw in the park. This was exciting and made them eager to learn. Not only did the training involve conservation education, but also of health education so that the pupils would better learn how to take care of themselves.  It was quite amazing that this training did not only look out for the girl child through a project called “Wuka”, but also focused on the boy child through a project called “boys champions”. This showed me that CLZ is one of the many organizations that promote gender equality.

Overall, data entry and report writing were one of my key duties. It was through working with different data sets obtained from different project areas that I was able to improve my data analysis skills and now able to deliver a high standard of work.

Working with CLZ was quite an adventure and was very beneficial for my career fulfilment and personal growth. It was through the opportunity that I was given that I have become more proficient in identifying potential conservation threats and how they can be moderated.

I am more than grateful to CLZ and Lady Marcy for the opportunity as it helped me gain a diversity of skills and discover my capabilities and what I need to work on in order to flourish in my career. It was more than an honour to have been a part of an innovative organization that helps save and serve wildlife through conservation.

Big Boy

It was early in December of 1996 that my wife Susan and I had the task of closing down our game camp at the confluence of the Zambezi and Chongwe Rivers in the scenically magnificent Lower Zambezi Valley.

The rains were about to commence and would make the only access road in and out of the Zambezi Valley impassable but fortunately for us the rains were late, as usual. Christiaan, my youngest son, who normally manages our camp, had been offered employment at a French ski resort. Since the rains were imminent, Chris had left to report to the ski offices only two weeks before.

At 24 years of age, who could not be but excited at the prospect of spending five months on the ski slopes, particularly having just spent nine months in the wild and remote Zambian bush, mostly on his own.

The night before our departure from the valley, we phoned Chris in London to say goodbye. His last words to us were, “Dad, please tell Big Boy that I say hello.”

At Chongwe camp we have a resident herd of bull elephants led by a magnificent bull who carried a set of ivory tusks that weighed more than fifty kilograms each. He was called, simply, Big Boy. His “askari” consisted of nine young bulls that were extremely protective of him. It was fascinating to watch Big Boy lean his large head against the trunk of a one meter diameter winter thorn tree and shake it like it were a twig until all the apple pods would fall down around him. All of the young bulls would wait patiently at a distance until Big Boy ate his fill. Then they would move in for the leftovers. Big Boy’s manners were impeccable; he would only eat his share and always leave more than enough for his young askari who would move in only after he walked away.

Our permanent compound in the camp was built under several of the big acacia trees that shaded our tents. When the wind blew, it always showered pods. The camp is built along the Chongwe River and the sheer bank provided a safe wall for us while the rear perimeter is fenced by a short reed and bamboo divider. Any animal could walk through the fence, but none ever has, and elephants especially, seem to understand it is an exclusive area and they respect your privacy. The camp workers would do a daily clean up of the pods in the area and place them in small heaps outside the fenced area.

Big Boy soon learned that these were easy pickings and he was the first elephant on the scene for the morning snack. Chris used to walk up to within a couple of feet of Big Boy and have a chat. They were only separated by the frail, short fence. The conversation was almost always the same. “Hello Big Boy, how are you today and where have you been? Are you hungry today?” and other small talk. Big Boy would listen, cock his head to one side, and reply with deep guttural sounds that elephants make during their conversations.

The day before our departure from camp, Big Boy stayed close to our tent the entire morning. Susan commented on his behaviour and said he probably missed Chris. I was busy with breaking down the camp, but I did notice that Big Boy was restless. Later in the afternoon, he came up to our little fence again. I thought that he was hungry for pods, so I had some of the staff rake up a bunch and dump them over the fence. But Big Boy did not touch them. I could see that he was troubled about something, so I walked over to him to have chat. He looked at me with those big, long eyelashes and his look said, “I understand.” Why is it that elephant have this natural affinity towards humans when it is the humans themselves and only the humans who can and will hurt elephant? I looked around the area and noticed that there were only seven of the young bulls that followed Big Boy, not the usual nine. It worried me that poachers could have moved into the area, which normally happens when all camps close down for the rains and poachers are left with the valley to themselves.

Big Boy was obviously unhappy, something had unnerved him, and he had a bewildered look in his eyes, which was possibly an appeal for help. More than ever I was convince d that he probably lost two young bulls of his askari to ivory poachers. I stared up into his eyes and tried to ask him to stay close to camp, that while we were away he would be protected. I firmly believe there are times when you can communicate your thoughts to animals. He tilted his massive head once again and gave me that strange, special look from his eyes that said, “I understand.”

Later that same night we had a going away dinner at the nearby Royal Zambezi Lodge with our charming hosts and game guides, Mike and Brett. Great company and good food and wine made for a very late night. My wife and I enjoyed the bumpy ride through the bush back to our camp. Shortly after we arrived, the first big tropical rain swept through camp. It had been a long, dry season and you could hear the flora and fauna gurgling in great delight at so much needed moisture. The crescendo of thundering tropical rain, the bell frogs and cricket choir, the cries of hippo, hyena and lion plus consistent dripping inside the tent kept us awake most of the night. We got up early and after a few hours of preparation we were ready to leave camp for the long drive back to South Africa.

While I was attending to last minute details, I heard a gunshot in the distance, it echoed through the valley, shattering the silence. It was December 16th, 8:20 am. A total of twelve gunshots were fired over the next three minutes. My blood chilled; the prospect of poachers running after a wounded animal continually firing G3 heavy ammunition into the animal meant it could only be an elephant. At the time, we had twenty elephant feeding around our camp. It was most upsetting to see the naked terror and sheer panic as they scattered in all directions. I saw one huge, familiar backside disappear over the hill towards the scout camp. “Thank God,” I thought, “Big Boy is safe.”

My portable radio gave a prolonged buzz. Mike the guide had heard the shots upriver and he asked how close they were to our camp. I told him that I thought they came from about one mile up the Chongwe River. He said that we should meet at the scout camp and provide transportation to the wildlife scouts who did not have a vehicle. Within minutes of each other, Mike, Brett, and I arrived. Unfortunately, there were only two scouts available.

Knowing that we had to move fast, Mike grabbed three AK-47s and handed one to me and one to Brett, we then mustered the two available scouts, loaded ourselves into the Land Rover and headed out.

We drove up the Chongwe Valley, crossed the river to the east side, parked, and decided to walk up the Muchinga Hills in the direction of the pristine Chongwe Waterfalls. It had stopped raining, but the ground was still very soft and the going underfoot was heavy. After beating through the bush for a mile uphill, we found elephant tracks. The spoor proved that there were several elephant and they were on the run. We backtracked the spoor several hundred feet until the tracks divided in two. The two scouts headed in one direction and Mike, Brett, and I headed in the other. After tracking for another mile or so, we saw signs of chaotic elephant movement. At this stage, I was full of dread. There are times when you sense that there is something wrong. There was no smell, no sound, no movement, just stillness in the air that disturbed us all. We squatted down on our haunches and peered through the bush for any sign of poachers or elephants.

While looking around to the right, at an angle slightly behind us, we spotted a dead elephant about a hundred and fifty feet away. It was covered with freshly cut branches full of greenery. It was a miracle that we saw it because it was very well camouflaged with only a small section of ivory visible to us. We were exceedingly lucky to have found it. We waited for the two game scouts to return and then resolved to hide in the bush to try and surprise the poachers if they decided to come back. Two steamy hours later, nothing had happened and we were beginning to melt in the heat. We decided to send Brett and one of the scouts for more help and equipment so that we could at least salvage the tusks. MikeI and the remaining scout would continue hiding in case the sounds of our friends departure would lure in the poachers. Unfortunately we had no such luck.

An hour later, Brett returned with his father, a few laborers and a collection of machetes and axes to remove the tusks. Brett’s father had also brought a welcomed bottle of iced orange juice. As hungry and thirsty as we all were, it was decided best to remove the tusks, so that if the poachers did return, their efforts would be lost.

We walked up to the elephant and began removing the branches that the poachers had used to hide the carcass. As the top tusk was revealed I felt a cold chill, we quickly removed more braches and my heart sank, it was Big Boy. His trunk had already been hacked off in the process of trying to remove the tusks. I must admit that I became quite incapable of speech; I turned to say something to Brett, but not a word came out. Mike on the other hand, had the opposite experience, he began cursing and raving at finding this most loved elephant killed and mutilated by poachers. Our shock was compounded when a barrage of gunfire exploded from at least four different locations on the other side of the clearing from us.

We jumped behind the huge carcass of Big Boy and crowded against the wall of his belly. We could hear the rounds of the AK-47s thudding into the bush around us. We could also hear and feel the rounds that smacked into the back of Big Boy. A couple of the poachers began to work themselves around the side of Big Boy for a better shot at us. We were thankful for Big Boy’s massive legs, which protected us from either side. Brett’s father had hit the deck behind a small bush about ten feet behind us. The bush had been trimmed down in a very short time to grass height, his back looked like it was covered by green confetti with all of the twigs and leaves that had been shot down. The poachers were shooting to kill and we were out gunned, out maneuvered and out surprised, so we decided to get out of there. Mike got on the radio and called the main scout camp to send reinforcements down river by boat.

Eventually we managed enough covering fire to allow us to make a break for it and run down the hill. Mike, Brett and I were the last to leave and be probably set a new Olympic record for the hundred-yard dash. When you see a small tree ten feet in front of you disintegrate from bullets fired behind you, it is amazing how fast you can run.

We made it back to the lodge unscathed. There were tears in more than a few eyes, including the staff, when everyone heard that Big Boy was dead. I felt the need to be alone and went for a walk up the north bank of the Zambezi. I didn’t know that Susan followed me. She came up behind me and put her arms around me and said how sorry she was. At that stage, I was too choked up to reply and we just stood there on the banks of the river, overlooking the Zambezi with our arms wrapped tightly around each other, saying nothing. There is something extremely sad about an animal whose trust in humans has been betrayed by humans themselves. Especially when the betrayal comes in the form of death. And death because of greed alone. I felt then the heavy grief in me being slowly replaced by anger. And anger too would give way to unsuppressed hatred and a growing determination to avenge Big Boy.

Within the hour, a boat arrived with the reinforcements from Mulilo Nsolo. We now had nine fully armed scouts and plenty of additional ammunition. The unit leader suggested, and we agreed, that we should go the long way around and approach the poachers from the back of the hills instead of the front as we had on the first attempt. We started off. It was a long, tough hike uphill with soft, wet ground and thick bush all in the heat of the afternoon. Fortunately, there was lots of rain about and good cloud cover so we were able to keep going. After about an hour and a half of slogging away, we were close to the kill site and the scouts began a “leopard crawl.” Mike and I continued walking. The scouts were impressed that two ageing men would remain uprights so near the enemy. But the unknown truth was that Mike and I were so fatigued that if we were to get down and crawl on our stomachs, we would not be able to stand again without assistance!

Walking was hard enough and it was only my desire to do something that spurred me on. We knew that we were close and we began walking at a faster pace. Suddenly all hell broke loose. We had walked into an ambush for the second time that day! Mike and I hit the ground as the frightening crescendo of AK fire opened up on us again. The nine scouts took cover about twenty meters in back of us and began to open fire. Mike and I were caught in a crossfire and the only cover was in front of us in the direction of the poachers.

We both began “leopard crawling,” making rapid advance on the enemy approximately one hundred meters away. Again at least two or three hundred rounds of ammunition were fired. The poachers, sensing that they were outnumbered, ran for the rugged mountains on our flank. The poachers were routed and in every sense, had taken to the hills. We considered and were willing to follow up but the unit leader quite rightly suggested that the poachers tactics reflected some sort of military experience and they might stage another ambush. We had been extremely lucky on two occasions already and didn’t want to push our luck, so we decided to turn back and finish the removal of the tusks.

The sun was setting rapidly and more rain was approaching. The thought of having to walk out in the dark with the poachers still in the area, made everybody work with great haste. For the first time, I plucked up the courage to walk around and face Big Boy. I stared into his eyes and tried to apologize for what my fellow man had done. “I am so sorry Big Boy”, I thought, “I just don’t understand.”

Big Boy I - 1998 02 Big Boy I - 1998 03

I was terribly shocked at the look of sheer terror that was still locked into his eyes. You could tell that his huge back legs had collapsed under him with one of the final death shots and his bowels emptied at the same time, leaving his rump lying in a great heap of his own excrement. I saw then that it was a miserable and humiliating death that he had suffered. Only yesterday this most magnificent and dignified of beasts was in the prime of his life. He was the “Lord of the Valley”, the Great One, the King of all he surveyed. Now, here he lay, dead, minus tusks and trunk. “WHY?” I kept asking myself. “Somebody please tell me why. Dear God, you tell me why!”

It was time for me to leave, as I began walking back towards the Chongwe River, the sun began to fade and it began to rain again. Appreciated the rain for at last I could cry unashamedly as rain pelted my face and washed away the tears.

My farewell words to my departed friend were: “Big Boy, Chris says goodbye.”

Words by Boet Liebenburg

Large Coalition Calls on ZEMA to Urgently Halt Mine in the Heart of Lower Zambezi National Park

Lusaka, 21st March 2022: A large coalition of 53 CSOs, traditional leaders, artists, safari operators and other stakeholders has raised serious questions about the approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study that has allowed the controversial Kangaluwi open-pit copper mine planned in the heart of the area to go ahead.

In an advert published in key media across the country, the Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi coalition has asked the following questions of the mine owner, Mwembeshi Resources Limited, and the Zambian Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA):

  • Why was the addendum to the previously expired EIS approved within JUST SEVEN WORKING DAYS of submission without having followed due process of consultation?
  • Why is this mine being claimed as a Zambian owned project when the major shareholder—Mwembeshi Resources (Bermuda) Ltd—is Chinese owned?
  • Has the Government re-drawn the National Park boundary to allow for this project to proceed outside of the National Park, without having followed due process?
  • Why are documents which form the EIS Addendum submission as well as ZEMA’s Decision Letter not being made public?
  • Why is Mwembeshi Resources claiming that it will create more jobs than tourism in the area? Figures from their own EIS submission clearly indicate that they will have a work force of around 300 jobs in total, of which only a nominal amount of unskilled labour will be employed directly from the area. This is in comparison to more than 1,000 people employed by Tourism and subsidiary industries.
  • Have subsequent EIA’s been conducted for the ZESCO power lines as well as the development of the access road which would have to accommodate the anticipated 50 x 30-ton trucks moving through the escarpment to the Copper Belt via Lusaka every day? This poses a major safety and health risk to the public both in the community, Lusaka City and surrounds as well as an additional threat to the environment.
  • Why are the people of Zambia being kept in the dark and being misinformed?

The Coalition says it is deeply concerned about the process involved in the approval of the EIA, and believes that many Zambians and other concerned people have the same misgivings.

“We, the Save Zambezi, Safe Zambezi coalition of stakeholders – representing the interests of concerned citizens and the people of Zambia – call upon Mbwembeshi Resources Limited and ZEMA to avail the public with answers to our questions and to make public all documentation pertaining to the ZEMA approval from May 2021.

“Until such time, we insist that all development relating to the Kangaluwi Open Cast Copper Mine in the heart of the Lower Zambezi National Park be stopped immediately. The mine will have a potentially devastating impact on people, water, the land and the environment in the entire Southern African region.

“The Coalition renews its call on all Zambians, and everyone who cares about the future of this region, to sign a petition to halt the Kangaluwi mine. You will find the petition on the website change.org, and you will find the petition under the name SaveZambeziSafeZambezi.”

 

Read the statement 
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Funding Announcement 2021

Photo by Francois d’Elbee

We are excited to announce that ‘Support to Conservation Personnel and Wildlife Protection in the Lower Zambezi during COVID-19’ is supported by IUCN Save Our Species and co-funded by the European Union. This critical support helps conduct DNPW and Community Scout patrols helping to protect wildlife in the Lower Zambezi as well as helping CLZ retain staff and maintain equipment during a very difficult time.

Update on the Proposed Mine in Lower Zambezi 2021

SAVE ZAMBEZI, SAFE ZAMBEZI

Earlier this year, the injunction to stop the proposed Kangaluwi open-cast copper mine in the Lower Zambezi National Park, this year the injunction against the mine was dismissed and the Environmental Impact Assessment, which was rejected in 2021, was once again approved. CLZ along with WWF, WCP and other cooperating partners have been working with Giraffe Creatives and Corporate Image on a media campaign aimed at raising public awareness about the mine. The campaign is running over several months and is being promoted across all media channels.

Kangaluwi-Copper-Project-Timeline

The petition to stop the mine currently has over 20,000 signatures however, we are working to try and increase this number significantly. 

Please sign and share the campaign petition and follow the campaign’s Facebook page for news and further information. 

MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE THREAT OF HARMFUL DEVELOPMENT ON THE ZAMBEZI RIVER BASIN

It is with great concern that it has come to our attention that on the 7th May 2021 Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) issued a letter approving the very controversial environmental impact statement (EIS) for a Large scale open pit mine located inside the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The Zambezi basin, whose main flow is the Zambezi river, is one of Africa’s most important basins. It’s a natural asset shared between Angola, Botswana, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique directly supporting the livelihoods of over 47 million people. It is the main supplier of fresh water for household, agriculture, health and industrial use, and supplier of electricity and fish to the populations of these countries. This basin is a network of important ecosystems that is home to Africa’s most important wildlife and water tourism destinations.

Simply put the Zambezi basin is the most significant shared resource that contributes to economic, environmental and social development of Southern Africa. Sustainable management of this resource is crucial in securing the futures of over 250 million people in the region that depend on it.

To meet the needs of the growing populations the basin attracts a range of investments. The way these investments are identified, designed, sequenced and financed will deliver opportunities for the basin or destroy the futures of the majority populations on the basin if the water is either interrupted or polluted.

Despite the Zambezi River being central to enhancing economic opportunities and securing sustainable livelihoods in Southern Africa, it is undergoing serious threats, one of which is the proposed Kangaluwi copper mining project in Lower Zambezi by Mwembeshi Resources Limited.

The proposed site for the mine lies in Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP), an International Conservation Union (IUCN) category II protected area in South-Eastern Zambia, on the Zambezi River, which lies within close proximity of the Kafue and Luangwa Rivers. The Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) provides refuge to globally threatened wildlife species such as Elephants and Wild Dogs and is home to unique vegetation types that include Zambezi endemics and the only protected and intact lowland deciduous thickets in the Southern African region.

If the mine goes ahead it poses a severe threat to the communities within the region as well as downstream where the risk of contaminating water is extremely high. This would impact the communities in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and the whole Zambezi delta, potentially destroying farming and fishing livelihoods and one of the largest tourism destinations for Zambia and Zimbabwe. While Zambia must benefit from the use of the mineral resources it is endowed with, it cannot do so at the expense of its people and other communities in those countries who have no connection to the mine.

It is clear that the potential long-term impacts of this mine and the environmental threat it poses to the renewable resources of the Zambezi River ecosystem far outweigh any short-term benefits. Local communities depend on the area’s renewable resources for water, fishing, agriculture, tourism and forestry. River pollution caused by the mine could threaten the mighty Zambezi river’s 2,000-ton subsistence fishery, which provides food and protein security to 20,000 people along the river’s banks.

In LZNP, eco-tourism in the area depends largely on the renewable wildlife and habitat resources and contributes significantly to the local and national economies around the LZNP.

Tourism establishments in the park and surrounding Game Management Areas (GMAs) employ more than 1,000 local people, generating a local wage bill of $4 million annually that indirectly supports thousands more people at a local community level.

The mine also threatens upcoming conservation projects such as the $12.5 million Lower Zambezi Flagship Species Restoration project, which received approval from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts in 2018. The project aims to bring back locally extinct species such as the Black Rhino and Eland, thereby restoring biodiversity and improving ecosystem processes in the area, which this mine could threaten.

In addition, the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP) shares boundaries with the Mana Pools World Heritage site to the south and is also being considered for designation as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Although the mine is expected to cover about 980 km2, which is about 25% of the park, it is estimated that more than 50% of the national park will be lost (the entire northern part of the park). This means that the primary reasons for which the park was initially established will be lost forever.

The threat to the Zambezi River ecosystem was highlighted by the late Dr Kenneth Kaunda, whose recent passing we deeply mourn. Dr Kaunda said the mine planned for Lower Zambezi National Park “poses the biggest threat in history to the wildlife and pristine wilderness that has survived so many centuries of challenges”. We could not have said it better. We urge our leaders to honour his legacy, by protecting this area.

We implore the Government under His Excellency, The President of the Republic of Zambia and the Father of the Nation, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, to ensure a Secure Zambezi and a Safe Zambezi by considering the following:

Take immediate measures to secure the entire Zambezi river’s waters as it is a shared resource between five countries. Developing an open pit mine on top of the Zambezi escarpment will accelerate the degradation of the Zambezi basin which is a source of many lives and livelihoods and source of life for a range of important wildlife and biodiversity.
Secure livelihoods of poor farmers and fishermen. Moving the proposed mine away from Lower Zambezi will secure livelihoods and focus on expanding economic opportunities offered by tourism, fishing and farming for local communities. Such sustainable investments will protect the interests of the poor fishing and farming communities.
Take measures of sustainable development that will ensure intergenerational rights to access and benefit from the Zambezi river are secured.
Work with conservation partners, fishing and tour operators to expand sustainable economic activities in the areas that deliver sustainable jobs and sustainable ecosystems.
Invest in the protected areas network as it will secure some of the globally important but threatened wildlife species such as Elephants and Wild dogs and deliver green jobs.
Focus on resolving the negative social and environmental impacts of mining in mining areas before it can consider opening up protected areas to similar degradation.

We join all our local and international stakeholders in appealing to the Government of the Republic of Zambia to reconsider and revoke the permission to mine the Lower Zambezi, which could jeopardise a renewable, sustainable asset of local, National and International importance. Save Zambezi for a Safe Zambezi.

Sign the Petition