South Luangwa Conservation Society
Project Location: South Luangwa, Zambia
The South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) is a registered nonâ€ï¿½profit community based organization formed in 2003 by local stakeholders. SLCS collaborates with the Zambia Widlife Authority (ZAWA) under a memorandum of understanding, which provides the mandate for the society to support ZAWA's law enforcement and conservation activities and also to provide the Community Resource Boards (CRB's) with law enforcement support.
SLCS was established to achieve five specific objectives:
- Support the law enforcement activities of ZAWA
- Assist the Community Resource Boards (CRBs) in the South Luangwa area who have a co-management responsibility for wildlife in the game management areas (GMAs) around the national park
- Mitigate human-animal conflict in the GMAs
- Assist local communities with livelihood improvement through strengthened and diversified income generating activities
- Ensure that animals wounded from snares and gunshots and any other human inflicted injuries are tended to and the animals rehabilitated returned to their natural habitats
South Luangwa Conservation Society's current projects include the ongoing support of 46 village scouts who conduct regular anti-poaching patrols inside the National Park and game management area. Activities include long field patrols, short patrols and anti-snaring day patrols, investigations, intelligence led operations and road blocks. SLCS provides all equipment, salaries, rations, training, transport, housing and incentives for these scouts.
SLCS is responsible for helping ZAWA immobilize and treat any snared and injured wildlife. Species commonly immobilized and treated by SLCS include elephant, lion, hyena, wild dog and giraffes. To date SLCS has tranquilized and treated over one hundred elephants, twenty lion, five giraffe, ten hyena and many more.
The project also runs a human wildlife conflict mitigation program using various methods of mitigation such as chilli fencing and chilli blasting to deter elephants. Additionally SLCS have a chilli farming project aimed at generating income for local farmers by using chilli as an unpalatable crop. More recently they have expanded the program to build elephant safe grain stores in communities to help them protect their crops once harvested and stored in the village.
Anti-poaching Units in the South Luangwa Valley
Poaching of elephants in South Luangwa Valley from 2005 to 2010 has increased by 32%. In addition to ongoing ivory and meat poaching through illegal hunting using homemade muzzle loading guns and other firearms, a very real and growing threat exists in the form of wire snaring. Meat poaching in the form of wireâ€ï¿½snaring unfortunately continues to have significant negative impacts on wildlife populations in the Luangwa Valley and affects a wide range of species including elephants, through direct and “by-catch” mortality. Consequently snaring is the major threat to certain species and efforts to reduce poaching are of the utmost importance.
Whilst species such as elephant are not a target species through snaring, their wideâ€ï¿½ranging behaviour and tendency to roam in human populated farming areas likely increases their probability of encountering snares. The Luangwa's size, remoteness, and growing human population, accompanied by inherent illegal activities, make anti-snaring and anti-poaching patrols critical to elephant protection. In the 2 month period July-August 2011, SLCS immobilized and treated nine snared elephants who would have otherwise died slow and painful deaths. Funding from Tusk has allowed SLCS to employ an additional six anti-poaching scouts and fully equip their patrols, including rations, fuel, and veterinary equipment to carry out the wildlife rescues that their patrols will yeild.