Nsumbu Tanganyika Conservation Project
Located on the Zambian shores of Lake Tanganyika, an aquatic world in itself, Nsumbu is a wildlife refuge, a unique ecosystem and the youngest of Frankfurt Zoological Society’s projects in Africa.
Nsumbu National Park is a diverse landscape with three main terrestrial habitat types: miombo woodlands, floodplains and Sumbu-Itigi forest. The southern section at higher altitude is characterized by miombo woodlands. Here, the Lufubu river slows into oxbow lagoons and has formed sizeable floodplains with extremely productive grasses and wetlands. The system of wetlands, floodplains and surrounding forest north of the river contains the largest diversity and populations of mammals, especially antelope. With decreasing altitude, the open woodlands give way to large stands of the endemic Sumbu-Itigi forest that is virtually extinct outside the protected area due to agricultural land clearing.
What we do
Community participation and inclusion
Ensuring that communities are engaged and empowered to make decisions is the only way Nsumbu can be conserved in the long term. Communities need to see tangible benefits from conserving their resources. We plan to support the communities in the Game Management Areas in Nsumbu by:
- Facilitating the democratic election of a Community Resource Board and strengthening these community institutions
- Creating Community Fisheries Committee to engage with government on fishing methods, licencing and management initiatives
- Training and ongoing support to farmers in conservation farming methods
- Creating village and GMA-level land use plans
- Developing conservation compatible alternative livelihood options
- Promoting population, health and the environment linkages
Park Management and Law Enforcement
- Construction of critical Park infrastructure
- Provision and support of motorized equipment
- Employing a minimum of 10 Community Scouts and providing uniforms and field equipment to all scouts in the field
- Running an operations control room and providing equipment for patrol planning
- Ongoing ranger training and mentoring
- Funding the newly established Investigations and Intelligence Unit
- Surveying Nsumbu’s lion population
The dense Itigi forests of Nsumbu make accurate counts difficult, but provided a vital retreat during years of heavy poaching. Law enforcement efforts are formed around protecting the remaining population and today, elephants feel safe enough to venture out during daylight and can be seen swimming in Lake Tanganyika. The high number of young animals indicates the herds are breeding and elephants are being seen in areas of Nsumbu where they have been absent for decades.
Protecting elephants by the nature of their behaviour means patrolling and monitoring vast areas, which in turn provides protection for all other species in that habitat. We believe ensuring elephants continue to exist on the shores of one of the most ancient lakes on earth is critical to its preservation and provides a symbol of what is possible.