However, these animals still face threats including poaching, disease, habitat loss, and conflict with people. The Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) is dedicated to conserving the country’s large carnivores – lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, and wild dog – with an approach that combines the three strands of robust research and monitoring, direct conservation action, and improving opportunities for Zambian conservationists.
ZCP is a field-based organisation working out of basic research camps in Luangwa, Kafue and Liuwa Plain. Intensive radio-collar studies of carnivore groups and individuals are supplemented with further data on prey species and other habitat features. With nearly 2,000 animals in their database, ZCP findings on diverse issues including population trends, distribution, diet, genetics, and impacts of hunting or fencing inform planning and decision making by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and other conservation organisations. ZCP also assists in de-snaring operations and provides veterinary support for injured animals, as well as monitoring human encroachment of protected areas, human-carnivore conflict, and domestic dog diseases. The organisation’s educational work encompasses collaboration with local secondary schools, an internship programme with the University of Zambia, and post-graduate opportunities that have placed a Zambian researcher in each field site.
Tusk has supported ZCP since 2016 with funds for their wild dog programmes. This has enabled important work in both monitoring and de-snaring, as well as the purchase of satellite collars to track key packs over extended areas.
African carnivores are under increasing pressure, and well-informed conservation together with local capacity building are essential to preserve them in their strongholds. ZCP needs our ongoing support to continue these vital activities.