Zimbabwe, Zambia

Kariba & Middle Zambezi

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Uniting people and wildlife

Uniting people and wildlife

Uniting people and wildlife
ELEANOR HARVIE (CLZ)

BYELEANOR HARVIE, CONSERVATION LOWER ZAMBEZI

 

The Lower Zambezi National Park lies east of Lake Kariba and covers an area of 409,200ha, with 120km of river frontage along the Zambezi. The Park lies opposite Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe and 28km west of the Mozambique border.

Its position adjacent to the Zimbabwean border post of Chirundu leaves it vulnerable to poaching, and it is just a few hours by road from the capital city of Lusaka, a hub for trafficking routes and bushmeat demand. The Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZWA) faces the challenge of protecting the wildlife of the park and securing potential trafficking routes.

The Lower Zambezi system, covering Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique, is home to around 23,000 elephant. An estimated 2,200 elephant live in the Lower Zambezi National Park and Chiawa Game Management Area. Chiawa GMA is also home to over 10,000 people, the majority of whom rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods.

The elephant population of the Lower Zambezi area has increased in recent years, which has led to severe conflict between humans and wildlife in Chiawa GMA. In some cases, a farmer’s entire crop may be wiped out in one night. Conservation Lower Zambezi works with these communities in the areas of wildlife protection, environmental education and human-wildlife conflict resolution.

Since 2011, CLZ has trained over 60 farmers in chilli farming and techniques to use them to protect their fields - chilli fences and chilli burning blocks can repel elephants, but these techniques are not guaranteed. CLZ continues to look into new methods to guard against these highly intelligent mammals, including the ‘felumbu’ - an elephant-proof granary store which has been very successful in protecting grain.

CLZ not only supports the community through their farming efforts, but in 2013 also selected, trained and equipped a village scout unit in collaboration with the Zambian Wildlife Authority and local Community Resource Boards. This 20-man unit is made of up 19 men and one woman from the Chiawa, Rufunsa and Luano GMAs surrounding the National Park. The unit provides extra manpower to ZAWA’s wildlife protection patrols, and in the 2013 farming season, CLZ placed a village scout team in the community full-time to respond to animal crop raids and support farmers in protecting their fields.

Thanks to the efforts of the Zambia Wildlife Authority and international donors, CLZ is working to protect both wildlife and people and minimise the challenges they face in this trans-frontier area.

More from this issue:
ZT17 (June 2014) - Main Menu
ZT17 (June 2014) - Full Content Listing

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