Wildlife Protection

CLZ supports over 10,000 patrol man-days per year

Foot Patrols

CLZ supports the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) in their mandate to carry out foot patrols in the Lower Zambezi National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas. Support includes providing food rations, communications, First Aid kits, patrol equipment, transport, incentives and a 24/7 Control Centre to patrol teams who carry out difficult and dangerous patrols to protect the wildlife and natural resources of the area.

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CLZ formed a Village Scout Unit in 2013

Village Scout Unit

CLZ’s Village Scout unit was established in 2013 with funding from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and in partnership with DNPW. Employed under both CLZ and the local Community Resource Boards (CRB), the VS patrol teams carry out wildlife protection patrols in the park and GMA under the leadership of a DNPW Wildlife Police Officer. The unit also provides support to the communities in the Chiawa GMA by responding to human-wildlife-conflict reports to help farmers protect their crop fields especially over peak harvest season.

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Every year CLZ’s plane flies over 150 hours of aerial patrols

Aerial Patrols

CLZ’s ‘eyes-in-the-skies’, a Cessna 172 (‘9J-CLZ’), carries out regular aerial patrols over the LZNP and Game Management Areas to detect illegal activities and for monitoring wildlife movements. The plane is an essential tool in spotting illegal activities, which can then be responded to by patrol teams on the ground. For example, due to the density of the vegetation, many elephant carcasses go undetected by foot patrol teams. Easily spotted from the air, however, these carcasses can be pinpointed with GPS and followed up on by teams allowing CLZ to build up an accurate database of localities and likely cause of death for elephant carcasses over the past five years. In addition the plane airlifts sick officers and regularly drops medicine, ammunition and rations in remote areas, lifting the moral and confidence of the officers on the ground.

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In 2016 CLZ’s support has led to the arrest of 38 suspects

Specialised Law Enforcement Units

In response to the increasing threat of poaching that is fuelled by a booming international trade in wildlife products, CLZ and DNPW have recognised the need to expand law enforcement efforts to include a more proactive approach, such as through intelligence-based and targeted operations. CLZ is in the process of establishing specialised law enforcement units in partnership with DNPW – a Detection and Tracking Dog Unit and supporting an Investigations and Intelligence Unit in collaboration with Game Rangers International – Wildlife Crime Prevention Project. With a potential rapid response unit to be established in the future, these highly skilled units will be working closely with each other and with scout foot patrol teams on the ground in order to efficiently and effectively react to poaching incidents and to information gathered relating to wildlife crimes.

The Dog Unit regularly confiscates illegal wildlife products

Detection and Tracking Dog Unit

The Lower Zambezi canine unit is made up of four handlers and two dogs, and has been in training since May 2016. The unit will be moving between trafficking ‘hotspots’ in the area surrounding the park to strangle channels of movement of illegal wildlife products, as well as acting as a deterrent. The highly trained dogs are imprinted with the scent of ivory, pangolin scales, bush meat, firearms and ammunition, and along with their specially trained handlers, will be deployed to detect these products when vehicles, border posts, people and villages are searched.

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We recognise the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for providing partial funding for these activities through the USAID funded Community Forests Program implemented by BCP.

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The digital radio repeater sits at the top of the highest mountain in the park

Investigation and Intelligence Unit

In partnership with DNPW, CLZ supports the Investigations and Intelligence Unit (IIU) through GRI’s Wildlife Crime Prevention Project. The unit will carry out regular and continuous monthly covert operations in the Lower Zambezi Area Management Unit (LZAMU), relying on the establishment of an effective informer network and officers being planted in the communities. Alongside the unit, we will develop a database co-managed by DNPW and CLZ that comprises all information gathered by patrol teams, investigators and undercover agents with regard to wildlife crime that feeds in to a national database. The unit will have advanced technology including listening and recording devices, buttonhole cameras, communications and tracking equipment.

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