Counter Poaching Training Programme

Project LocationVarious, including DR Congo, South Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Chad, Republic of Congo, Malawi
Project TypeWildlife and habitat conservation, Endangered species protection
Endangered SpeciesBlack Rhino, White Rhino, African Elephant

Counter Poaching Training Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa

This project is introducing specialist interception tracking skills across 15 protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa, and combining this with improved information gathering and analysis, and the development of an information network. The overall aim is to reduce poaching, specifically of elephant and rhino, across these protected areas, which span 7 countries.

The project is being supported by the UK Government through the IWT Challenge Fund, with extra support from the Rufford Foundation, and builds on a trial project that was made possible with support from the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.

As the training comes to a close, 140 rangers have been trained to a basic level of interception tracking, 101 of which have received further training and have qualified an intermediate level. Advanced level training has then being delivered to 41 of these rangers, so that they can lead anti-poaching operations and train their colleagues to ensure the sustainability of the initiative. Meanwhile, 16 information officers from 6 protected areas have received expert training in information gathering and analysis, and a network is being established for sharing information between them.

The protected areas covered by this project include:

  • Zakouma National Park, Chad
  • Garamba National Park, DRC
  • Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi
  • Liwonde National Park, Malawi
  • Nkotakhota National Park, Malawi
  • Lake Malawi National Park, Malawi
  • Akagera National Park, Rwanda
  • Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo
  • Kruger National Park, South Africa
  • KwaZulu-Natal Protected Areas, South Africa
  • Joint Protection Zone, South Africa
  • Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, South Africa
  • Bangweulu Wetlands, Zambia
  • Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia
  • Kafue National Park , Zambia

Over a relatively short period since they took place, the trial projects have already been a factor in some significant successes for the protected areas concerned. In particular, the project has already substantially contributed towards includes a 100% reduction in elephant and rhino poaching in Malawi’s Liwonde National Park, down from two elephant a week and on average one rhino per month. In South Africa’s Kruger National Park, an unprecedented 48 poacher arrests were made in the month immediately after the training.

The project has also directly influenced the Ministry of Defence’s engagement in anti-poaching, which is replicating much of the training and deploying British soldiers directly to protected areas to support anti-poaching operations.

Tusk Support

Tusk has been leading this project through Luke Townsend, who led the trial project and an initial fact-finding mission on which the project is based. African Parks is the main project partner for the initiative, with many of the protected areas covered falling within their network.

Notes from the field
This support has made a tremendous difference to our efforts here and the majority of our men are developing very nicely as we have progressed through this training. The results certainly speak for themselves.
Park Manager, Liwonde National Park, Malawi
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