Human-elephant conflict mitigation for the communities of Chiawa, Zambia
The Lower Zambezi is one of Africa’s elephant population strongholds as well as the home to a growing human population therefore competition for food and water sources has caused dangerous tension between rural communities and elephants inhabiting the Game Management Areas (GMA) surrounding the Lower Zambezi National Park (LZNP). In 2013, in collaboration with Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) trained 20 Village Scouts (VS) to increase wildlife protection, human elephant conflict mitigation in the Lower Zambezi and protect the communities and wildlife of this ecologically important region. Conducting an average of 8 patrols per month, the unit is a vital community-based solution for the conservation of elephants. In the year since its inception, the VS carried out 4,456 patrol-man days, providing a dramatic boost to wildlife protection. The first HEC VS patrols began in January 2014 supported by IEF, and received an overwhelmingly positive reception due to the increase in harvested crops. In 2015, HEC patrols will be increased during peak conflict months and VS will instruct farmers about elephant behavior and mitigation methods for a long-term solution to living alongside elephants.