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Zero poaching – North Luangwa’s conservation success story

2018 was a significant milestone for the North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP) with zero elephants poached in North Luangwa National Park; and a reduction of >50% of elephant carcasses found in the adjoining Game Management Areas (GMA).

2018 was a significant milestone for the North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP) with zero elephants poached in North Luangwa National Park; and a reduction of >50% of elephant carcasses found in the adjoining Game Management Areas (GMA). This is a significant achievement especially considering the level of elephant poaching in the neighbouring areas.

The NLCP is a 33-year partnership between Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) that manages the North Luangwa National Park and the surrounding GMAs, which combined make up the 22,000km2 North Luangwa ecosystem.

 

This is the first time in many years that the project has recorded this kind of success both within the park and the community area, while also maintaining their zero poached rhino status for their ground breaking black rhino reintroduction programme.

Ed Sayer, FZS Project Leader The big thing will be to give true community ownership to the wildlife resource outside the Park because those community members are our biggest resource in terms of protection. Ed Sayer, FZS Project Leader

Dedication

Organised poaching and habitat loss remain a critical threat to elephants across Africa. With the continent’s population estimated to be as low as 415,000, bold and innovative conservation measures to curb poaching and to protect their landscapes from encroachment need to be taken if we are to save this iconic species.

 

According to Ed Sayer, NLCP’s Programme Leader, much of the 2018 achievement was rooted in concerted and bold efforts from every department within the project that include their Rhino and Elephant Protection Unit, wildlife crime canine unit, Community-based natural resource management team, fleet and logistics department, GMA management support, and the DNPW Investigations and Intelligence Units across the ecosystem.

Way Forward

Good management and successful operations need to be sustained, and new strategies are required to upscale protection efforts, to stem the ongoing threat.

 

“The only way to we will continue this success is, unquestionably, maintaining this level of law enforcement effort; but the big thing will be to give true community ownership to the wildlife resource outside the Park because those community members are our biggest resource in terms of protection,” says Sayer.

 

Communities in North Luangwa need greater ownership and benefits from wildlife as well as support so that they can live within the limits of the ecosystem.

 

NLCP is working with the local communities to strengthen their participation in conservation and generate benefits from protecting wildlife: The initiative aims to build capacity for natural resource management and community engagement in conservation enterprise opportunities.

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