Animals including elephant, hippo, lion and wild dog are threatened by human activities, especially ivory poaching, commercial bushmeat hunting and subsistence snare hunting. Over 30,000 people live in communities bordering the park, and their support, as well as effective enforcement, is vital to protecting these wildlife populations.
CLZ supports the DNPW with rations, equipment, technical training and logistic assistance contributing to over 10,000 ranger-days each year. Together with specialist units also supported by CLZ, these led to 38 arrests in 2016. Their own Cessna light aircraft helps detect illegal activities and drops supplies in remote areas. Village Scouts conduct further patrols, and support local farmers at risk of crop raiding from elephants and hippos. This is also addressed through farmer education – explaining elephant behavior and ways to minimize conflict – and through the active promotion of chilli farming and elephant-safe grain stores. CLZ’s education programme reaches over 2,500 children a year through on-site courses, school Conservation Clubs and teacher training.
Tusk provides annual support towards CLZ’s wildlife protection programme, thereby contributing to the safeguarding of wildlife in the region. The Village Scout network with back up from the Aerial patrols which provide a unique line of defence and rapid response to reports of illegal activity in the park.
CLZ makes a huge difference to the conservation of the Lower Zambezi, and plans to re-introduce nationally important species like black rhino. But ongoing funding is needed to keep bringing these benefits and secure the area’s wildlife for the long term.
Image Credits: Wildlife Protection © Francois D’Elbee