The Zambezi Wildlife Trust (ZWT) is an organisation committed to the empowerment of local communities and protection of wildlife. We are dedicated to finding sustainable solutions to ensure communities living within the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area positively benefit from wildlife conservation and local tourism.
Our operations are primarily focused on anti-poaching and other conservation initiatives within the Zambezi Conservation Area, a landscape comprised of the Lower Zambezi National Park and its neighbouring Chiawa Game Management Area (GMA). While the Lower Zambezi National Park is a protected area, local communities inhabit pockets of its neighbouring GMA, resulting in a shared wilderness where villages and wildlife co-exist
The ZWT was founded in 2017 in response to poaching and other environmental infringements in the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area, particularly in areas that form the buffer zone to the west of the National Park. Our principal goal is to ensure the continued integrity of the buffer zone by establishing an equable environment in which local communities are inspired to participate in conservation practices and benefit directly from the tourism economy.
To achieve this, the ZWT has implemented a series of successful anti-poaching initiatives aimed at preserving wildlife populations within the GMA and at educating the community about sustainable and profitable alternatives to poaching. The ZWT is committed to solutions-driven initiatives that work to uplift local communities by ensuring local households benefit positively from wildlife tourism and conservation.
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 where local people coexist with wildlife and as such, are permitted to undertake subsistence farming.
In Zambia, the funds arising from the proceeds of hunting in GMAs are distributed 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 benefit from the vital provision of meat, as a by-product of legal hunts.
The Chiawa GMA, which lies on the western border of the Lower Zambezi National Park, forms part of the Lower Zambezi Conservation Area. The area was not 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 owing to the significant additional benefits of meat provision, and removal of problem or crop raiding animals.
Big goals are achieved in small steps. Our projects are organized in a way that allows everyone to participate and help with specific projects.
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The specific poaching for ivory is undertaken by outside actors, whether from Lusaka or internationally. Ivory poaching remains a problem in the buffer zone areas of the GMA as anti-poaching operations are less consistent than within the Park itself.