Zambia is one of just nine countries world-wide estimated to have over 1,000 remaining wild lions. Spanning 66,000km2, the Greater Kafue National Park – Zambia’s oldest and largest Protected Area – is a key refuge for the species, home to a population of approximately 250.
However, in 2021, the neighbouring communities of Iyanda, New Ngoma and Basanga on the southern borders of Kafue National Park, reported 145 incidences of Human-Carnivore Conflict – lions predating livestock – leaving subsistence cattle farmers destitute and enraged. Four adult lions were killed by the community in retaliation.
Relations between the community and local law enforcement authorities remain strained. Such negative experiences with wildlife often manifest in the provision of passive support to poachers, including the supply of firearms, accommodation, information, and concealed access into the National Park.
With the generous support of DierenPark Amersfoort Wildlife Fund, Zambian conservation organisation, Game Rangers International (GRI), is empowering local livestock farmers to fortify their farmsteads and deter lions from community areas in an effort to improve livelihood security and prevent the retaliation killings of large carnivores.
This holistic monitoring and mitigation project comprises data collection and analysis, conservation awareness, capacity building, the development of early warning systems, and the provision of tools and equipment. Educating the community on the ecological, economic and aesthetic value of lions is a core objective of the project. GRI will raise awareness via radio broadcasts, bumper stickers and information boards, whilst equipping at-risk farmers with effective deterrents and durable zero-visibility kraals.