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Spotter plane helps guarding North Luangwa

On Tuesday, 20 June 2017, the German Ambassador in Zambia officially handed over a Husky aircraft to the North Luangwa Conservation Programme. Frankfurt Zoological Society will be operating the aircraft for aerial surveillance of the North Luangwa National Park.

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(From left to right:) H.E. Ambassador Achim Burkart, FZS project leader Ed Sayer, Hon. Permanent Secretary Liya Mutale, DNPW Assistant Director Andrew Chomba, DNPW Senior Warden Solomon Chidunuka. Photo: FZS
“I am very proud that the German government financed this aircraft and thus supports this wonderful project of the Frankfurt Zoological Society in its fight against poaching in Zambia,” said the German Ambassador Achim Burkart at the function in North Luangwa National Park.

The German Ambassador handed over the aircraft and a cheque covering the costs of the construction of a water pump and tank and tap stand for the DNPW staff and their families living at the Park’s headquarters in Mano.

“The protection of North Luangwa National Park and its iconic endangered species serves the betterment of the ecosystem and the livelihoods that depend upon it,” said the Permanent Secretary Dr Liya Mutale from the Zambian Ministry of Tourism and Arts, and continued: “The poaching pressure on these iconic species is the highest it has ever been across its range and the Ministry will aim to ensure that this threat is adequately addressed with increased manpower and resources needed to protect Zambia’s important national heritage.”

The North Luangwa ecosystem is Zambia’s elephant stronghold, home to the country’s only black rhinos, and one of the highest lion densities in the region. The North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP) is the partnership between Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife to conserve it. Founded in 1986, the partnership focuses on protected area management and law enforcement.
Aerial surveillance flight over North Luangwa National Park. Photo: Patrick Eickemeier/FZS
In conservation, aircrafts can be used to survey large and remote areas, to detect threats, provide critical information to reaction forces on the ground, and carry out wildlife censuses and habitat monitoring. The Husky A-1C is an ideal plane for monitoring and anti-poaching surveys as it operates at low heights and slow speeds and has a proven long-term success rate for its use in finding poacher camps and recording GPS positions for follow-up actions by teams on the ground.

The handover ceremony was attended by the DNPW Assistant Director, the Chief Mukungule, and representatives of the Provincial Joint Operations Committee, representative of the Mpika District Commissioner and the representative of the Provincial Permanent Secretary.

The German government has provided funding for the acquisition of three aircraft, to support the fight against poaching as well as wildlife and habitat monitoring in Zambia and Tanzania. The other two Husky A-1C Aircraft are being deployed in the Tanzanian Selous Game Reserve and the Serengeti National Park. This support is part of longer-term financial and technical development cooperation measures implemented by FZS, GIZ, KfW, in collaboration with Tanzania Wildlife Authority TAWA, Tanzania National Parks TANAPA, and the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife.