In 2015, the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) now called the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) completed a report based on an aerial survey of wildlife they commissioned. Funding was provided by Vulcan Incorporation as part of the Great Elephant Census, a Paul G. Allen Family Foundation project.
The report states that one area, the Sioma Ngwezi at the very bottom of Zambia, close to the borders of Namibia and Angola indicates a declining population. The good news is that the Luangwa population should be increasing which we attribute to the vigilance and dedication of Conservation South Luangwa and the support they receive from Africa Hope Fund, international large donors, and local lodges.
In one area covered by the Zambia Carnivore Programme, Kafue National Park, as well as the Lower Zambezi which borders Zimbabwe, (another troubled country when it comes to wildlife conservation), elephants are at a delicate tipping point while some carnivores populations are growing. The Zambian Carnivore Programme can take credit for some of that promising growth.
When I was in Mfuwe in 2015 and spoke with longtime residents and conservation experts, we talked about the numbers the government reports as often being at odds with the numbers submitted to them by anti-poaching organizations. A reputable foundation funded this research, so the numbers are probably close to actual, but people in the field say they believe the number of elephant bodies counted is too low.
The war against elephants is not over. When nearby unstable countries run out of sources for ivory, which means a lot of money to terrorist groups and other black market dealers, they will find “our” wildlife. They can cross into the Luangwa Valley in bigger numbers to take out the biggest and best tusks, leaving elephant families without leaders, diminishing their gene pool and moving them closer to extinction because they don’t reproduce quickly enough.
Today, Zambia’s economy struggles for a variety of reasons. Plummeting copper prices hit their financial system hard, and Zambia’s government is hard pressed to provide a complete education for its youth who are key to sustaining Zambia’s wildlife. This is why we use a two-pronged approach to conservation. Your donations help us protect wildlife to keep it in trust for the next generation. You also help the next generation value their inheritance through conservation education. Any donation is appreciated and goes a very long way in Zambia. Please use our “donate” button to help protect elephants from extinction.
Written By: Pat Cole