The Threat: Wildlife Crime in Zambia
Wildlife crime is a rapidly increasing threat to global environmental and economic security. Vulnerable African wildlife populations are facing an immediate crisis due to these crimes, which are trans-boundary, involve cross-border criminal syndicates, money laundering, corruption and the exploitation of disadvantaged communities (The Environmental Crime Crisis – UNEP/INTERPOL – 2014).
Situated at the heart of the Southern African region, Zambia shares largely unprotected borders with four countries identified by CITES as ivory poaching and trafficking source countries: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Tanzania as well as three states with important elephant populations in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. This places Zambia in the centre of the regional transit networks, with illegal wildlife products from a number of countries being transported from and through Zambia en route to other transit and market countries. Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka is a well-known wildlife crime hub where wildlife products are processed and criminals can source weapons, finance and other logistics.
GRI Wildlife Crime Prevention Project – What do we do?
GRI Wildlife Crime Prevention Project (WCPP) was established in 2015 with the following objective:
A Zambia free from illegal wildlife trade with citizens engaged in protecting biodiversity and habitats
- Work closely with Zambia’s protected area network including South and North Luangwa NP, Lower Zambezi NP and Kafue NP as well as others;
- Work closely with conservation organisations in Malawi and Zimbabwe to ensure cross border collaboration;
- Based in Lusaka National Park.
GRI Wildlife Crime Prevention Project promotes nationwide conservation of wildlife and habitats through the following activities:
- Law Enforcement
- Education and Outreach
- Research and Policy
Law Enforcement – Anti-trafficking Operations
Working closely in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Intelligence and Investigations Unit (IIU) nationwide and regionally to support:
- Intelligence Operations: covert, undercover, information gathering ops
- Investigations Operations: raids, stings, roadblocks, airport & border controls
- Rapid Response Unit: to increase human resource capacity (planned for 2016)
- Detection Dog Unit: to support roadblocks and airport operations (planned for 2016)
- Baseline understanding of illegal wildlife trade in Zambia (volume, domestic market, transit routes, main actors, extent and impact)
- Ivory stockpile management and control
- Wildlife crime prosecutions and judicial systems
Support is provided through training and capacity building to the DNPW officers who have the legal mandate to conduct these law enforcement operations.
Education and Outreach – Educate, engage and inspire awareness in conservation
Taking the message of wildlife crime prevention to schools and communities in Zambia working with:
- Local schools around Lusaka through our conservation curriculum and activity booklets
- Chinese communities in Zambia to improve awareness of wildlife conservation issues
- Lusaka community: decision makers and opinion leaders to ensure wildlife conservation is promoted and supported nationwide through awareness events
Research and Policy – A well-informed Zambia engaged in wildlife policy dialogue
- Support evidence-based research about wildlife crime related questions in Zambia and the region.
- Current projects include: Assessing the scale, drivers and impact of the illegal bushmeat trade in Zambia;
- Use research results to inform social marketing and awareness campaigns
- Engagement with wildlife policy and legislations reviews.
Our Zambia, Our Wildlife, EleFest 2016 – Music video
The music video below is a collaboration of Zambian artists in support of wildlife conservation.
This song is a call to Zambia and the rest of the world to support conservation efforts and celebrate the people and organisations who are making an impact. Sending the message out to everyone that we are the generation with whom the responsibility lies: to report wildlife crime, reject illegal bushmeat, value our wilderness areas and support the men and women risking their lives on a daily basis to protect our wildlife.
Our Zambia, Our Wildlife is performed by Maureen Lupo Lilanda, Wezi HeartSound, Mumba Yachi, James Sakala. Produced by Jerry Fingers. Video produced and directed by Fortress MEDIA Photography, conceptualised by Mojo Advertising and GRI – Game Rangers International with addtional footage from Jeffery & McKeith Safaris. Filmed on location at Lilayi Lodge and Kafue National Park. With thanks to WWF Zambia and Department of National Parks & Wildlife.