SLCS is the conservation program we, at Shenton Safaris, are supporting via a number of contributions (financial donations or resources): daily fees per visiting guest, annual member fees, board member (Derek), anti-poaching patrols and road grading.
The annual report for 2013 is out and below are the major achievements of SLCS in 2013, amongst many others.
We thank each and everyone of the SLCS staff members and scouts for their hard and sometimes dangerous work, and we thank each and every donor who contributing to financing the organization and made the work possible. Thank you!
1.0 Law enforcement support to village scouts
SLCS continues to support the Zambia Wildlife Authority’s (ZAWA) law enforcement efforts in protecting the natural resources of South Luangwa national park and the Lupande Game Management Area.
1.1 Wet season fly camps
In addition to routine and emergency patrols SLCS conducts three annual wet season fly camps. In 2013 these were operational from January to April in Luamfwa, Kapamba and Chambowo. Since 2005 in addition to standard patrols, SLCS in conjunction with ZAWA, has funded and supervised these three wet season fly camps strategically situated within particularly sensitive areas of the national park. Due to the parks inaccessibility during the rainy season and the fact that safari bush camps close for this period, there is an increase in poaching in remote areas within the national park. The camps consist of a temporary fly camp fully equipped with solar and radio communications and eight scouts operate on a rotational twenty day patrol basis to ensure that the areas are well-covered for the duration of the wet season. From this fly camp, long patrols, short patrols and day patrols are conducted routinely. The fly camp locations are renowned sensitive areas during the rains and are largely targeted by poachers for big game species. The fly camps are an essential part of the law enforcement strategy in South Luangwa.
The 2013 wet season fly camp generated the following results:
- Number of long patrols conducted x 22
- Number of suspects apprehended x 9
- Firearms confiscated x 7
- Snares recovered x 242
1.2 Anti-fishing / anti-snaring patrols
January to March 2013 involved multiple anti-fishing patrols co-led by ZAWA scouts, SLCS supported scouts, and the Fisheries Department. A fishing ban was implemented from November 2012 to February 2013 and we used this opportunity to remove as many fishermen and illegal nets as possible via river patrols.
1.3 Construction of a hangar and repositioning of aircraft at Kakumbi airstrip
One and a half years after Mfuwe Lodge and the Bush Camp Company provided funding to purchase the SLCS/ZCP aircraft, we have since identified and employed a suitable pilot, renovated the Old Kakumbi airstrip inside the national park, constructed a suitable hangar, and finally moved the plane from Mfuwe International Airport to the Old Kakumbi airstrip inside the national park where it is now based full time under the supervision of ZAWA.
1.4 Aerial surveillance progress
Aerial operations are progressing well. The flying routine has highlighted the importance of continuously improving communication with the patrols on the ground so as to maximize aerial patrol control and support. The South Luangwa Park represents an immense area to survey and it is important to have a clear knowledge of which areas are being covered. Every flight is GPS recorded. All the information gathered is then downloaded onto Map Source and viewed on Google Earth. Most of the efforts to date have focused on improving the ground to air communications and anti-poaching surveillance. For each recorded flight, information such as waypoints of points of interest (carcasses, camps, fires, drying racks, animal movement and distribution, ground patrol position and coverage etc) area covered in km², elevation, true course, distance measurements, flight duration are available. This system allows us to have an instant view of the aerial coverage of the park and GMA’s, as well as plotting of any important information.
1.5 Installation of a new repeater system and procurement of new radio equipment
1.6 Purchase of two new Toyota Land cruisers for patrol deployments
With the increase in the number of scouts SLCS is supporting and the extended area we are now covering, additional vehicles were needed in order to achieve this. Two Toyota Land Cruiser pick-ups were purchased from Toyota Zambia with funding from Mfuwe Lodge and the BushCamp Company. One vehicle and SLCS driver is stationed at Lusangazi scout camp to assist with operations.
1.7 Renovation of Lusangazi Camp scout houses and radio room
Renovation of Lusangazi scout camp is complete. Eight houses and one radio room were renovated, a new radio system installed, a garage constructed and a vehicle made available for law enforcement. In addition, the Malama village scouts are now based at the camp and patrols are being conducted in a much more efficient manner.
Rations are provided for patrols on a monthly basis by SLCS and scouts are equipped with all the necessary equipment.
2.0. Hiring of SLCS / ZCP Veterinarian
A panel of experts conducted interviews in Lusaka in April for the hiring of a veterinarian for SLCS and ZCP. After short listing a number of applicants and conducting interviews, Dr. Mwamba Sichande was selected, moved to Mfuwe from Lusaka and started work in June. There were a large number of Zambian applicants and Dr. Sichande was chosen because of his commitment to his work, quiet manner in which he conducts himself, ambition to succeed in his career and of course his academic qualifications and interest in wildlife.
For the past seven months Dr. Sichande has been exposed to numerous cases of wildlife injuries to attend to. These have included eight elephants, four lions, four hyaenas, one giraffe, four buffalo, a zebra and various other cases. Dr. Sichande works closely with the SLAMU research department and conducts all of his work in collaboration with ZAWA.
The reporting of snared animals increased during the dry season and Dr. Sichande was on hand to attend to these with the SLCS, ZCP and ZAWA teams. In addition to this, his joint work with the Zambian Carnivore Program has given him experience with other species including cheetah and wild dog in Liuwa and Kafue national parks.
2.1 ZCP collaboration, monitoring and evaluation
An increase in law enforcement effectiveness is often viewed as being the single most important strategy to improve wildlife management over the short term; however most law enforcement programs in Africa have paid little attention to wildlife monitoring and evaluating effectiveness of law enforcement. Scout patrols cover immense areas of remote and road less land throughout the year, recording wildlife sightings, documenting animal carcasses, and detailing poaching activity in addition to conducting law enforcement work. Data from sightings, the location of snares and poached animals, as well as biological samples from carcasses and from animals immobilized for snare removal can all provide invaluable data on a species’ presence, distribution, disease exposure, genetics, diet, movements and migratory patterns to name just a few uses. All of this information can then be incorporated into evaluations of a species’ dynamics, threats to its survival, and areas of high risk and conservation value. In recognition of this SLCS has increasingly teamed with the Zambian Carnivore Program to enhance collaboration and coordination in anti-poaching and wildlife research to benefit conservation.
Other partnerships and developments at SLCS
1.0 Detection dog survey for snares
In June a team of detection dogs and handlers from the USA (Working Dogs for Conservation) and South Africa (Green Dogs) conducted a month long survey to determine how accurately dogs can detect wildlife snares. Dogs have proven that they are exceptional at pinpointing the location of landmines, tripwires, guns and other metal, human-made and placed objects in the environment and continued to prove themselves adept at finding even wire snares.
1.1 Anti-Snaring Educational Efforts
We have recently developed a new anti-snaring poster for wild dogs which we hope will raise more awareness about dogs and snaring. We make regular use of anti-snaring promotional material locally.
1.2 Staff Training
A GIS training course was conducted at SLCS by GIS Corps volunteer Michelle Kinzel (USA). The CEO, Operations Manager and SLCS / ZCP pilot attended for three weeks. Arcview 10.3 was installed and is being used.
In-service refresher scout training
In order to maintain discipline, values and high standards amongst law enforcement officers, regular in-service refresher training courses are essential every four years. One cannot run away from the fact that scouts can and do become complacent, excessively comfortable in a particular area and often settle in to a community environment, socializing with the very perpetrators they may at some stage arrest. Appropriate management and leadership are vital as is refresher training. These short three week courses conducted in the field by a cadre of selected operational staff of instructors provides thorough, practical and appropriate training courses to field staff within the boundaries of the protected area in which those field staff typically operate. In May and June 2013 SLCS funded and coordinated 2 x 3 week intense courses with forty scouts on each course.
1.3 Kakumbi village scout houses at the SLCS Base receive electricity
22 Village scout houses at SLCS Base were renovated and in 2013 we provided electricity to all houses. Funding for this was provided by Civil Society Environment Fund.
1.4 Human wildlife conflict mitigation program with Awely Red Caps
Since 2008 the French organisation Awely and SLCS have put together their strength and experiences to tackle the multiple conflicts between people and wildlife on the borders of the South Luangwa National Park and within the Lupande GMA. Elephants are the main cause of crop and property damage although hippo and bush pig contribute. The Awely Red Caps team of five permanent and two voluntary community workers are registering all conflicts in five chiefdoms that they are informed of. Besides assessments, they are consulting and supporting farmers and villagers to implement multiple activities to reduce these conflicts with wildlife.
- 5 training workshops conducted including 1 in Lower Zambezi
- 10 x Community meetings
- 1 x 5 day chilli bomber workshop for 20 people
- 1,588 kg of dried chilli was harvested and sold to Rivonia
- 4 human wildlife injuries assessed
- 95 conflicts assessed
- 6 chilli growing workshops conducted in Malama and Kakumbi for new chilli farming season
- 95 farmers have signed contracts for 2013 chilli farming season ( and more are still being signed)
- 50 elephant safe grain stores have been constructed in Malama, Kakumbi and Mkhanya
- Monitored and paid allowances for 20 chilli blaster for 5 months during peak conflict season
Elephant friendly tea and chilli products
In addition to our sale of chilli to Rivonia in Lusaka, SLCS has developed two elephant friendly products for sale locally, lemon grass tea and packed dried chilli. Both are available for sale at Tribal Textiles, Lion Camp, Kaingo Camp, Flatdogs Camp and Norman Carr Safaris. Chill and lemon grass are both disliked by elephants and are bought from farmers practicing conflict mitigation measures.
We are very pleased that the Red Caps project has really gained momentum in the past year. This is only possible through the hard work of the Red Caps team, but also the support and confidence by the communities of the Luangwa valley. We would like to thank every single farmer who has put trust into the project and actively supports the idea of finding ways to live in harmony with wildlife.
2013 Conservation fun run and sports day
The annual SLCS conservation fun run in July was another great success with over 3000 people in attendance. The event is gaining more momentum each year and is now a fixed event on the yearly calendar. Aside from being a fun sports day event, its main objective is to raise wildlife conservation awareness in a friendly and neutral environment. This year for the first time we also had the Mambwe District Commissioner as guest of honour and the District Education Board secretary. SLAMU also took part in the event and had a team taking part in different races.
The aim of the fun run is to bring together all members of the community in Mambwe District for a day of sports events and entertainment with a conservation theme. The development and tourism industry in Luangwa depends on its wildlife and natural resources and protecting these resources is of paramount importance. Involving communities in conservation events helps us to spread our message.