Conservation Lower Zambezi

Project LocationLower Zambezi, Zambia
Project TypeCommunity conservation initiatives
Endangered SpeciesAfrican elephant, African wild dog, lion
Land Area Protected18000 km2
Benefiting Locally10,000
Local People Employed33
Schools Supported50

Conservation Lower Zambezi

Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) is a non-governmental organisation committed to the conservation and sustainable use of the local wildlife and natural resources of the Lower Zambezi through environmental protection, education and supporting local community development. The Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounding game management areas are home to a wide range of biodiversity including four threatened species according to the IUCN red list (African elephant, hippo, lion and African wild dog). Illegal poaching of three kinds: commercial ivory; commercial bushmeat; and subsistence snaring remain a constant threat in this area due to its proximity to the capital of Zambia, Lusaka and one of the main transport links, the Great East Road. CLZ assists the Zambia Wildlife Authority with domestic wildlife protection as well as promoting environmental education and human wildlife conflict solutions in local schools and communities.

Communities inhabiting the areas surrounding the Lower Zambezi National Park are often faced with many hardships and challenges in their every day lives. With education attainment levels low and livelihood opportunities few, many people rely heavily on natural resources for income, health and nutrition. Deforestation, overfishing and poaching are environmental issues threatening the vital local eco-system .  The CLZ environmental education program helps schools and communities understand the importance of natural resources to every day life.

Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation

Human/elephant conflict is a reality in the Chiawa Game Management Area, the western buffer zone to the Lower Zambezi National Park and home to over ten thousand local residents. CLZ understands that the local communities living around protected wildlife areas face many difficult challenges in sharing their homes with wildlife. Farmers struggle to grow crops with any certainty knowing that their harvest may be destroyed by an elephant in one night. Women and children move around constantly aware that their paths may be blocked by dangerous animals. The support of the local communities for the protection of wildlife and environment is essential and CLZ is committed to helping these local residents live sustainably in harmony with their valuable natural resources.

CLZ has conducted various workshops in the Chiawa Game Management Area including Chilli Crop Protection Methods and Understanding Elephant Behaviour workshops.  In the Understanding Elephant Behaviour Workshop, basic information is passed on to local residents about how elephants move and live—such as the importance of traditional migratory routes.  Students now understand an elephant’s mood through its body language and respond accordingly.  As well as elephant behavior, participants also learn about different ways to protect their crops from being raided, including the implementation of chilli fences and chilli bombs.
With a better understanding of elephant behavior, CLZ aims to encourage safer human behaviour in the local communities and therefore less problem animal control. Elephants are worth more to Zambia alive than dead and CLZ is committed to protecting the wildlife of Lower Zambezi for the present and future generations of Zambia.

Support to the Zambia Wildlife Authority

Since 1995, CLZ has been committed to the conservation of the Lower Zambezi natural resources for the present and future generations of Zambia.  As wel as environmental education, CLZ also assists the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) with anti-poaching activities inside the Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas.  Through food rations, deployment and pull-out transportation, logistical support, first aid kits, GPS equipment, training and communication, CLZ assists ZAWA Wildlife Police officers who risk their lives in the bush protecting wildlife from the contant threat of poaching.

One of CLZ’s main objectives is to build capacity of the local ZAWA scouts.  This year, CLZ introduced a standardized GPS tracking system of all foot and aerial patrols.  All team leaders are now trained to use a GPS device and understand that their patrols are visible on a Google Earth Map once downloaded.

Tusk Support

With support from Tusk, CLZ delivered human-elephant workshops to over 90 local community members living in Chiawa Game Management area. CLZ's human-wildlife conflict workshops disseminate invaluable information to the communities surrounding the Lower Zambezi. 

Tusk has also supported the CLZ team in their anti-poaching efforts by sponsoring Rabson Tembo to leave Zambia for the first time to attend an Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) course at the Southern African Wildlife College in South Africa.

In addition, CLZ uses PACE materials as part of their education program.

Notes from the field
In 2013, CLZ has established and trained a 20-strong Village Scout Unit to increase capacity in the local wildlife law enforcement authorities. Local applicants underwent a rigorous six week training course to become highly skilled wildlife protection officers in the Lower Zambezi National Park and Chiawa Game Management Area.

Our environmental education program has published a new curriculum this year, with the CLZ Environmental Educator taking the first lesson to conservation clubs in our project schools. We are also training conservation club leaders to give further lessons about environmental sustainability in the region. CLZ’s community support programs have received a great boost with the appointment of a permanent Human Wildlife Conflict Coordinator to assist farmers with crop protection.
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