Bangweulu Wetlands Wildlife Reintroduction Project

Timeframe: 2016
Country/Region: Zambia, Africa
Partner: African Parks

Fondation Segré has partnered with African Parks to support an ambitious project in Zambia to restore the Bangweulu Wetlands. The Bangweulu Wetlands Game Management Area protects 6’000 km2 of floodplain, swamp, savannah and woodland habitat and is a vital water catchment for the Congo River. The project aims to relocate 600 indigenous heads of game into the system to recreate an ecologically viable protected area with the capacity to become sustainable. The species identified for restocking are the roan antelope, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, puku, impala, warthog, zebra and eland.

50’000 people are living in the project area and have historically always been active in harvesting of meat and fish for their own survival. Prior to 2008, the Bangweulu Wetlands area suffered from a combination of diminishing wildlife and fish resources which were poorly managed, deforestation, and unplanned human settlement. A lot of poaching also reduced many wildlife species to very low numbers and the important fishery was in decline. Since the inception of the project in 2008, greatly improved law enforcement and community engagement have resulted in a drastic reduction in poaching and the increase of both game numbers and fish stocks, creating favorable conditions for a game reintroduction. Law enforcement and wildlife population monitoring are activities that will be ongoing throughout the duration of the project.

The general goal of restocking the Bangweulu Wetlands with key mammal species is to unlock the potential of the area to become resource-based, providing economic benefits for the local community through the long term financial sustainability of the project. This will help to secure an area of internationally significant biodiversity value and will catalyse further commercial investment.