SOUTH LUANGWA CONSERVATION SOCIETY
In Zambia’s eastern province lies the spectacular Luangwa Valley, once known as the Valley of the Elephants. Today, decades after poaching decimated most of the valley’s elephant population, combined conservation efforts to restore and protect its natural resources have paved the way for South Luangwa to become Zambia’s flagship national park and one of Africa’s true remaining wilderness areas with a stable elephant population.
However, like all areas rich in wildlife, where tourism and economic growth is thriving, accompanying cascading negative effects brought about by an increase in local businesses, improved livelihoods and an increase in the encroaching human population is a reality. One of these effects is undoubtedly the massive increase in poaching for bush meat and ivory. Fighting the escalating battle against poaching, human wildlife conflict, encroachment, habitat loss and at the same time supporting sustainable community development, is the South Luangwa Conservation Society which was set up ten years ago by local stakeholders. What started off as a fledgling organization has evolved in to a dedicated and vital conservation partner in South Luangwa.
What we do
SLCS was established to achieve five specific objectives:
- To support the law enforcement activities of ZAWA which, manages the wildlife estate for the benefit of the people, and the Government of the Republic of Zambia.
- To assist the Community Resource Boards (CRBs) in the South Luangwa area who have a co-management responsibility for wildlife in the GMAs.
- To mitigate human-animal conflict in the GMAs
- 4. To assist local communities with livelihood improvement through strengthened and diversified income generating activities and
- To 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.
Law Enforcement support to ZAWA through CRB’s.
SLCS supports sixty five community based village scouts from Malama and Kakumbi Chiefdom who are supported and co-managed by SLCS and the Community Resource. These scouts conduct anti-poaching patrols with ZAWA in the national park and game management area.
Human Elephant conflict mitigation
In an effort to further reduce contempt for wildlife within the local community specifically that of elephants, SLCS is strengthening its chilli program as a means of mitigating human elephant conflict. Farming along the Luangwa River and its tributaries adjacent to the national park is increasing, despite the obvious conflict with elephants. Our efforts to persuade farmers to grow unpalatable crops such as chilli as an alternative crop to maize and vegetables, is slowly having an effect. SLCS has also designed the chilli farming project so that the purchase of chilli by SLCS is closely linked to farmers who are using the chilli fence and chilli blasting techniques as a mitigation method. The chilli is then sold on to Rivonia Farms in Lusaka who commercially produce chilli sauce products.
Fun Run – SLCS hosts an annual 10km fun run and conservation sports day event in July which attracts over 3000 people during the day. The aim of the event is to raise conservation awareness through sports and entertainment. The event is funded by the Elephant Charge Zambia.
How can visitors help
Visit our website, learn more about SLCS, Luangwa valley and the challenges it faces before you arrive or while you are here. Don’t just be a visitor and then leave but get involved, pay a visit to our base in Mfuwe and see how you can help.
Luangwa Conservation Community Fund (LCCF) For many years the safari operators in the Luangwa Valley have been working with the South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) to ensure continued conservation. They are also running individual educational and conservation programs in the community. To ensure the long term future of these essential projects selected tour operators introduced a “Conservation & Community Fund” to their rates. This voluntary fee will is added to the bed night and the funds are split evenly between conservation and community projects. We believe that guests visiting South Luangwa will be satisfied to know they have contributed directly to ensuring the ongoing survival of the wildlife & environment as well as the development of the local community. LCCF provides up to a third of SLCS budget.