There are no defined areas for conservation or development within the Chiawa Game Management Area (GMA). Land in this region is often used for subsistence farming and plots are granted on an ad-hoc basis, without consideration for their impact on the surrounding wildlife. As a result, local people are frequently confronted by dangerous wildlife while tending their crops, provoking conflict between humans and nature.
Additionally, community farming projects can infringe on the environment, threatening wildlife habitats and impacting the aesthetic appeal of the area for wildlife tourism, a significant income generator for local communities.
We believe a definitive and cooperative plan for land use is required in the Chiawa GMA. Our aim is to help define the use of land in the area through a community-led process by identifying 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.
For the communities that live in the Chiawa GMA, fuelwood is an essential household resource. Typically, the procurement of fuelwood is collected as dead wood, however, trees are often cut and burnt to produce charcoal as a supplementary fuel resource. Certain areas within the GMA are being targeted to produce charcoal for sale, posing a significant threat to natural habitats and local wildlife.
Our aim is to reduce deforestation by controlling charcoal production and providing alternative sustainable fuel sources for rural households. We believe the introduction of more profitable and sustainable resources will minimise the burning of charcoal for profit.
Poaching within the Chiawa GMA is a complex problem, requiring careful consideration and urgent attention. The degree to which poaching is performed in the area is varied and those responsible undertake the practice for different reasons.
Firstly, local people participate in the indiscriminate poaching of wildlife, often using small snares or poison, for sale at the market or as a source of protein for consumption. Not only does the poaching of small game in high numbers reduce the density of prey species, threatened predators like lion and wild dog are often accidentally trapped and killed in the process.
Secondly, poaching for ivory is cause for increasing concern within the buffer zone areas of the GMA. This is syndicated poaching, organised and undertaken by participants from outside the area, in cities like Lusaka and abroad. These poachers rely on the support and knowledge of local people, which is obtained in exchange for financial reward. Unfortunately, the presence of anti-poaching operations within the GMA are lacking, with efforts focused primarily on protecting wildlife within the Zambezi National Park.
The ZWT is working to address the multi-faceted issue of poaching within the GMA with a two-fold approach. We aim to significantly reduce the level of subsistence poaching in the Mugulameno village, by ensuring that households positively benefit from wildlife tourism and reducing their reliance on wild sources of protein to feed their family.
We strive to make commercial poaching and poaching for ivory an undesirable option for GMA communities by enforcing consistent anti-poaching operations in the area and educating local households about conservation as an alternative source of income.
The community residing within the Chiawa GMA have identified crop-raiding – by elephants and hippos in particular – as the most critical issue for local households. Addressing this crisis is likely to improve local support for conservation generally.
Our aim is to ensure that local people benefit from conservation and are empowered with sustainable opportunities arising from the wildlife tourism economy. Additionally, we are working to implement crop protection schemes in an effort to reduce human-to-wildlife conflict in the Chiawa GMA.
Community Improvement Projects
The ZWT is actively working to improve the lives of the people living within the Chiawa GMA, with a series of development projects in nearby villages.
Community Based Food Programme
For local communities, hunger is a daily reality. Faced with the prospect of continued drought, households within the GMA struggle to put food on the table. Together with Anabezi, Amanzi and Kayila Safari Camps, and the Lower Zambezi Tourism Association, the ZWT is working to raise funds for the provision of mealie-meal, a staple food source in Southern Africa, to affected communities.