Wildlife Protection & Law Enforcement in 2023
Patrol person-days supported by CLZ
Kg of illegal bushmeat recovered
Hours of aerial support
DNPW Foot Patrols
CLZ supports the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in their mandate to carry out foot patrols in the Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas. Support includes providing food rations, communications, First Aid kits, patrol equipment, transport, incentives, and a 24/7 DNPW Operations Centre to patrol teams who carry out difficult and dangerous patrols to protect the wildlife and natural resources of the area.
Community Scout Patrols
CLZ’s first Community Scout unit was established in 2013 with funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and in partnership with DNPW. CLZ and the local Community Resource Boards (CRB) now employee 43 Community Scouts who carry out wildlife protection patrols in the park and Game Management Areas under the leadership of a DNPW Wildlife Police Officer. These units also provide support to the communities by responding to human-wildlife-conflict reports to help farmers protect their crops.
CLZ’s ‘eyes-in-the-skies’, a Cessna 172 (‘9J-CLZ’), carries out regular aerial patrols over the Lower Zambezi National Park and Game Management Areas to detect illegal activities and for monitoring wildlife movements. The plane is an essential tool in spotting illegal activities, which can then be responded to by patrol teams on the ground. In addition the plane airlifts sick officers and regularly drops medicine, supplies, and rations in remote areas, lifting the moral and confidence of the officers on the ground.
The DNPW and CLZ Dog Unit is made up of four handlers and four dogs. The unit moves between trafficking ‘hotspots’ in the area surrounding the park to halt channels of movement of illegal wildlife products and act as a deterrent. The highly trained dogs are imprinted with the scent of ivory, pangolin scales, rhino horn, bush meat, cat skins, firearms, and ammunition, and along with their specially trained handlers, are deployed to detect these products during searches.
In 2022, CLZ held the opening ceremony for a newly built Marine Unit Operational Base and the renovated Chongwe Confluence. DNPW and CLZ began construction to refresh this entrance to the park in 2021—adding new officer housing, ablutions, guest check-in area, carpark, jetty, and base for the Marine Unit. This recently established Marine Unit responds to threats to the Lower Zambezi National Park by river and have increased capacity to monitor cross-border illegal activities.
Rapid Deployment Team
The Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) was selected in 2022 and consists of DNPW Officers and CLZ Community Scouts. The RDT responds to intelligence in relation to poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking and works to intercept and break down trafficking routes used to smuggle endangered species in and out of Zambia. They work in close collaboration with the Investigations and Intelligence Units, and through combined efforts, they have had significant successes.
Investigation and Intelligence Units
In partnership with DNPW and Wildlife Crime Prevention, CLZ works with three Investigations and Intelligence Units in the Lower Zambezi (Chongwe, Luangwa and Chirundu). The units carry out regular and continuous covert operations in the Lower Zambezi Area Management Unit, relying on the establishment of an effective informer network and officers being planted in the communities. The unit have advanced technology, communications and tracking equipment, and work in collaboration with the Dog Unit and RDT.
Pro-nature Enterprises Project
CLZ’s fisheries project has been integrated into the new Pro-nature Enterprises project which promotes sustainable and socio-economically inclusive fisheries co-management. Funded by AFD – Agence Française de Développement and FFEM and implemented by Conservation International, Africa Field Division, and CLZ, the project aims to strengthen community engagement in sustainable natural resource management, anti-poaching efforts and integrate conservation and compatible land – water uses.
In 2018 CLZ employed a Legal Assistant to support DNPW and the National Prosecutions Authority with wildlife crime related cases in courts surrounding the Lower Zambezi. The Legal Assistant is part of Wildlife Crime Prevention’s Judicial Program and has helped manage, advise and collect data which, in the years to come, can be used for a quantitative analysis of wildlife crime cases. The Legal Assistant works to ensure effective legal justice as well as deterrent sentencing to aid in reducing levels of wildlife crime in the Lower Zambezi and trafficking across the world.