Celebrating the success of 30 years German-Zambian North Luangwa Conservation ProgrammeEnlarge image from left: Ambassador Finke, FZS Project leader Sayer, FZS Executive Director Schenck, FZS President Becker, Minister of Tourism and Arts Hon. Kapata, German MP Roth, Permanent Secretary Mwansa (© Bernecker/German Embassy)
The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and Zambian Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) celebrated the 30th anniversary of their partnership in the North Luangwa Conservation Programme. For the memorable reception hosted by German Ambassador Bernd Finke many conservation stakeholders came together, among them the Zambian Minister for Tourism and Art, DNPW officials, FZS representatives from Germany and North Luangwa, rangers, traditional authorities as well as many other conservation and wildlife advocates and German MPs visiting Zambia for the Interparliamentary Union Conference.
Enlarge image Minister of Tourism and Arts Hon. Jean Kapata (© Bernecker/German Embassy) The North Luangwa Conservation Programme started in 1986 and is today supporting the management of an area of 22.000km². In close cooperation with the Government of Zambia and Zambia´s wildlife protection agencies FZS has been helping to conserve the ecosystem for its instrinsic value and the benefit of the people. „The North Luangwa Conservation Programme is a joint effort to FZS and DNPW to protect a unique wilderness area“, stated Ed Sayer, FZS project leader in North Luangwa. “The programme delivers hands-on and effective conservation and has brought the North Luangwa wilderness back from the brink of disaster.”
Enlarge image Especially trained sniffer dogs show their skills to find ivory and rhino horn (© German Embassy) The Programme focuses particularly on protected area management and law enforcement activities for conservation of natural resources and, specifically, Zambia´s only black rhino population and largest elephant herd. It strengthens the local communities, natural resource management and the basis for tourism development in the region. Simultanously, FZS aims to ensure that the area is sustainably managed and generating benefits that contribute to the long term security and resilience of local communities. FZS also engages with local communities through education and infrastructure programmes. “Going forward, we aim to focus on enabling true community ownership and improving benefit sharing through mixed land use, concessioning and commercial investment that is not only reliant upon trophy hunting”, says Ed SayerOver the last three decades, the Initiative has found a lot of international support and achieved great successes, such as the reintroduction of black rhinos. Minister of Tourism, Hon. Jean Kapata said „Zambia is very proud of what this partnership has achieved. Enlarge image Sniffer dogs quickly found the ivory that was placed in the Residence garden for demonstration purposes (© Bernecker/German Embassy) The North Luangwa National Park is now arguably the best protected and most secure wildlife are in Zambia (…) We have made tremendous progress in conservation as evidenced by growing numbers of animal population.” Challenges still persist, such as poaching, habitat destruction and human population growth-led encroachment. North Luangwa “is of global significance. Zambia cannot maintain and develop the area alone.” German Ambassador Bernd Finke thanked all the stakeholders involved for their passion and noted “For the past 30 years the work of FZS and DNPW on the ground has been guided by tireless efforts to find sustainable solutions to safeguard one of Africa´s most pristine wilderness areas. I am proud that FZS is a German based organization and has become a trademark for my country´s wildlife conservation activities in Zambia. And I am grateful that FZS can count on the cooperation of the Zambian Government. We should regard wildlife conservation not as a political option we may chose, but as an obligation we have to fulfil for the benefit of our children and in recognition of the fact that Mother Earth is a gift entrusted to our care. We are not entitled to allow it to be destroyed.”