North Luangwa Conservation Programme Anniversary: 30 years of protecting an iconic wilderness

Joint Press release by the Zambian Department of National Parks & Wildlife, the German Embassy Lusaka and Frankfurt Zoological Society

21 March 2016, Lusaka – Today, Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and the Zambian Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) celebrate the 30th anniversary of their partnership in the North Luangwa Conservation Programme. To mark the date, the German Embassy in Lusaka hosts an evening reception. The guests will be provided with a look back over three decades of conservation work in North Luangwa and an outlook to the future of this unique ecosystem.

“The North Luangwa Conservation Programme is the joint effort of Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to protect a unique wilderness area,” says Ed Sayer, the FZS project leader in North Luangwa. “The programme delivers hands-on and effective conservation and has brought the North Luangwa wilderness back from the brink of disaster,” Sayer adds. He thanks the DNPW Scouts for restoring and ensuring the safety of the ecosystem, which is the basis for the positive developments over the last three decades. Sayer also acknowledges the great and continued support of the programme from the German Embassy.

“Thirty years ago, there were very few animals left in the park, because of poaching. But after the programme started we soon saw improvements and now we have big numbers of elephants and big numbers of buffalos,” says Paul Zyambo the Director of DNPW. “I can safely say that North Luangwa National Park is the most secure park in the country, today,” Zyambo says. With the on-going support of the local chiefs and the communities in the area, FZS and Zambia’s wildlife authorities have restored the North Luangwa ecosystem as an area with great potential for development in terms of sustainable tourism.

“North Luangwa is a pristine wilderness area and a refuge for African wildlife of global importance,” adds Bernd Finke, the German Ambassador to Zambia. “We are proud to have supported the conservation efforts and we congratulate the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Frankfurt Zoological Society on their achievements.”

The North Luangwa ecosystem has the densest and healthiest elephant population in the country, as the recent nationwide survey shows. “I think it is fair to say that 20 years ago no one would have anticipated this development. The positive observations across the North Luangwa area reflect our ecosystem-wide approach,” says Sayer. The support FZS provides goes into the North Luangwa National Park as well as the surrounding Game Management Areas, which form buffers zones the conservationists regard as key to the future integrity of the North Luangwa ecosystem.

“Going forward, we aim to focus on enabling true community ownership and improving benefit sharing through mixed land use, concessioning and commercial investment that is not only reliant upon trophy hunting,” says Sayer. FZS builds on the partnership with DNPW to create an attractive investment culture within the area that is based on revenue retention and decentralised decisionmaking. “We believe that the North Luangwa communities hold the key for the future of the ecosystem,” Sayer says.

Media representatives are kindly invited to attend the reception on Monday, 21st of March 2016, at 17hrs in the German Residence (4972 Nyerere Road corner Ngumbo Road, Ridgeway, Lusaka). Kindly bring a press ID.

Note for editors:
The North Luangwa Conservation Programme started in 1986. It supports management of an area of 22,000 km² in 2016. The programme is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ and further third party donors. Including core funding from FZS and DNPW salaries the programme has an annual budget of approximately € 1,700,000.

Programme focuses:

  • Protected area management
  • Law enforcement
  • Conservation education
  • Community-based natural resource management
  • Black rhino project

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