The Zambia Wildlife Trust (ZWT) is an organisation dedicated to ensuring that communities within the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area benefit from wildlife conservation, including the local wildlife tourism sector.

The ZWT was established in 2017 and founded upon the knowledge that whilst the Lower Zambezi National Park was generally well-protected, key areas that form the buffer zone to the west of the National Park often suffered higher levels of poaching and infringements.

The ZWT believes that maintaining the integrity of this buffer zone is integral to ensuring the on going and future success of wildlife conservation efforts in the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area.

TheZWT aims to actively support the work of the local authorities (Department of National Parks and Wildlife) to empower the communities living within the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area, specifically those in the Chiawa Game Management Area (GMA).

The ZWT recognisesthat this can only be achieved with the support of local people, who should be active participants in, and beneficiaries of the local wildlife tourism economy.

Our Focus :Chiawa GMA

A Game Management Area (GMA) is defined as a buffer zone around a National Park within which licensed safari hunting is allowed. It is intended to be an area in which people, coexist with wildlife and as such, are permitted to undertake subsistence farming. In Zambia, the funds arising from the proceeds of hunting in GMA's are disbursed to local people through community-led boards and are spent on key infrastructure projects such as schools, health care facilities and clean water projects. Communities also benefitfrom the vital provision of meat, as a by-product of legal hunts. The Chiawa Game Management Area forms part of the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area. It lies to the west of the Lower Zambezi National Park. The area has not been hunted in 2019, but it's likely that commercial hunting will resume in the near future. Communities within the Chiawa GMA favour hunting over photographic tourism due to the significant additional benefits of meat provision, and reduction of problem animals.

Zambezi WildLife Trust

ZWT principle aim is to work with the DPNW and other conservation organizations to promote the protection of the Western GMA and enhance community benefits from conservation. The organization aims to promote sustainable conservation practises in line with partnership with tourism institutions that exist in the area.

The organization is overseen by a board of directors and governed by the articles of association.

The ZWT is headed up by Jealous "Chops" Nyandowo, who even at the age of 34 is a veteran of conservation in the Lower Zambezi. Chops sits on the board of Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) and is based in the Lower Zambezi on Zambezia Farm.

Chops leads a scout team of 7 men who are employed through the CRB.

Objectives

Land use

The land within the Chiawa GMA has no defined areas for conservation or development, and as a result land use is largely decided on an ad-hoc basis, rather than ensuring that it is being used to its maximum benefit. As a result, local people frequently come into contact with dangerous wildlife whilst tending crops and infringements on the habitat are resulting in less game, which impacts the attractiveness of the GMA for income generation.
OUR AIM
Defining Land Use with the Chiawa GMA Through a community-led process, a clear land-use plan will identify core areas for agriculture and development, as well as outlining zones for conservation management. The plan will be freely and easily accessible to community members, relevant government departments and other stakeholders.

Poaching

Poaching is a two-fold issue:

Poaching of wildlife is undertaken by local people (often using small snares or poison) as a source of protein or for sale at market: The poaching of small game at high densities is reducing the number ofprey species and is increasingly leading to the accidental trapping andkilling of threatened carnivores including wild dogs and lions.
Ivory poaching is undertaken by outside actors, whether from Lusaka or internationally: Ivory poaching remains a problem in the buffer zone areas becauseanti-poaching operations are less consistent. Poachers rely on thesupport of local people, which is often willingly given due to theunderlying conflict with elephants.
OUR AIM
1) Significantly reduce the level of subsistence poaching in the area of Mugulameno villages: By ensuring that households benefit positively from wildlife tourism and no longer rely so heavily on wild sources of proteinin order to feed their families, subsistence poaching in theMugulameno village area will be significantly reduced. Poaching for commercial sale will also be curbed so that it is not an attractive way to make money. This will reduce the death of ungulates, as well as many non-target species that are indiscriminately caught in snares or poisoned.
2) Eliminate ivory poaching from the Chiawa GMA: Through consistent anti-poaching enforcement and the support of local people, the poachingof elephants for ivory will be eliminated from the Chiawa GMA.

Deforestation

Selective harvesting of trees is reducing habitat quality by removing tree cover, resulting in the reduction of vital shade plants and forage for wildlife within the GMA. Fuelwood for household use is collected as dead wood, but cutting and burning of trees may be undertaken to achieve this. The targeted burning of areas to produce charcoal for sale is an increasing problem within the region and may be seen as a possible livelihood opportunity by community members.
OUR AIM
1) Reduce deforestation by controlling charcoal production: By providing alternative sustainable fuel sources, the cutting and burning of standing trees and shrubs for household fuel will be reduced. Furthermore, by introducing more sustainable and profitable livelihood options, deforestation as a result of charcoal burning activities for profit will be minimised.

Crop-raiding

Crop-raiding by elephants and hippos, in particular, was identified as the most critical issue by the community. Addressing this crisis is likely to improve local support for conservation generally.




OUR AIM
Ensure local people are supportive of, and benefit from, conservation in the Chiawa GMA Local people will benefit from the presence of wildlife in Lower Zambezi Conservation Area. There will be increased household employment in the Mugulameno villages as local people are empowered to engage with sustainable livelihood opportunities arising from the local wildlife tourism economy. People will feel safer and happier, as human-wildlife conflict incidents are reduced through crop protection schemes and by removing the need for people to enter high-risk areas.

Community Improvement Projects

Undertaking development projects in the nearby villages will actively improve the lives of the people living there.