Fourteen Community Scouts in the Lower Zambezi area (Luangwa District which is part of Rufunsa Game Management Area) have been working and putting their lives on the line without receiving their salaries since December 2017. These brave wildlife warriors are committed to their work and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) and the International Elephant Foundation is committed to them.
Normally paid by the area Community Resource Board through funds raised by a hunting concession, the salaries for the Community Scouts have been unfunded due to a re-tendering of the hunting concession. IEF’s conservation partners at CLZ brought this to our attention and proposed that we reallocate funds to provide support to these scouts while salaries get worked out. For $8 a bag, funds will be provided to purchase a bag of mealie meal for each scout as he comes off patrol, covering August through December. In this way, the scouts will be able to help feed themselves and their families through the end of the year. The hope is that by year’s end the concession will be back and salaries will start to be paid.
While it is only a simple gesture, it represents a commitment to their well-being and will hopefully boost morale. These brave scouts deserve our respect and our support.