|Conservation Lower Zambezi
Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) supports Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in fulfilling its mandate to manage and conserve wildlife in the Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas. This vast area is home to approximately 1,000 elephants and is contiguous with Mana Pools in Zimbabwe (separated only by the Zambezi river), where there is an even larger elephant population. Elephant poaching in the Lower Zambezi peaked in 2016; CLZ and DNPW have worked hard to mitigate this, and illegal elephant deaths have reduced markedly as a result – although the threat of poaching remains, global ivory demand saw an uptick in 2021, and human-elephant conflict and illegal gold mining are emerging threats. The ECF has supported CLZ with six grants since 2016 enhancing law enforcement, through the establishment of a canine unit and rapid response unit, ranger accommodation, vehicle, communications software, field equipment, ranger training, and targeted data collection. Currently, we have two active grants; one has funded satellite collars for 10 elephants, and significant upgrades to the park’s control room. The collars have provided critical data on elephant movements enabling more focussed monitoring, deployment of anti-poaching teams, and a better understanding of spatial and temporal movements to mitigate human-elephant conflict; the second is a grant to assess the threats and drivers of illegal small-scale gold mining in the Lower Zambezi National Park – this will inform the development of mitigating actions to address this threat.