South Luangwa Conservation Society
South Luangwa Conservation Society
The South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) is a non-profit community based organization committed to the conservation and preservation of the local wildlife and natural resources in South Luangwa. In addition, SLCS promotes community development amongst local populations. Set up in 2003 by local stake holders, SLCS now plays an important role in conservation and environmental protection within the Luangwa Valley. SLCS relies entirely on donations from members and funding from grants and ensures 100% of donations go directly towards conservation activities.
Anti Poaching and Law Enforcement
SLCS works closely with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and local Community Resource Boards (CRBs). SLCS supports of over 40 village scouts who conduct regular anti-poaching patrols inside the National Park and game management area. Scout activities include long field patrols, short patrols and anti-snaring day patrols, as well as investigations, intelligence led operations and road blocks. SLCS provides all equipment, salaries, rations, training, transport, and housing for these scouts.
With incentive from SLCS, the village scouts now play an important role in park and game management protection.
Poaching of elephants in South Luangwa Valley increased by 32% from 2005 to 2010. In addition to ongoing ivory and meat poaching, a very real and growing threat exists in the form of wire snaring. The use of illegal wire snares, kills not only animals for the bushmeat trade but also unintended victims of a wide variety of species. Whilst species such as elephant are not a target, their expansive range and tendency to roam in human populated areas increases their probability of encountering snares. Thus, snaring is a major threat to many species and efforts to reduce poaching are of the utmost importance.
Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation
SLCS is the only body in South Luangwa equipped and skilled to immobilize, treat and rehabilitate snared and other wounded animals. With years of experience, numerous elephant, lion, hyena, giraffe, wild dog, leopard and many other species have been recued by SLCS. The SLCS team is now called upon by ZAWA to deal with all cases of injured wildlife in South Luangwa.
Human - elephant conflict is one of the major problems facing the local communities in South Luangwa and is often the reason for animosity and contempt toward conservation activities. Mitigating these conflicts is an ongoing and challenging task for SLCS, and, in partnership with ZAWA and the CRBs, SLCS is constantly striving to find new and innovative ways of dealing with the problem. These include chili blasting and chili fencing to deter elephants in combination with an income generating chili farming project. More recently, SLCS has expanded the program to include the construction of elephant safe grain stores in communities to help them protect their crops once harvested. These projects are managed by five full time members of staff dedicated to addressing and monitoring wildlife conflict.
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.
Tusk’s most recent grant to SLCS has enabled the project to rehabilitate the airstrip and build a hangar for their recently acquired aircraft.
In the coming months, the detection dog survey team (composed of two dogs from Working Dogs for Conservation in the United States and two from South Africa’s Green Dogs) will be in South Luangwa conducting a snare survey with our scouts. This is a very exciting development and we hope to expand the programme and eventually have our own dogs to detect illegal contraband throughout the country.
In the meantime, we have received a call from one of our patrol deployment vehicles who recently spotted vultures and a number of snares in the area. Rather than removing them, we quickly deployed an ambush team to wait patiently for the owners to come back in hopes of apprehending them.