Securing large carnivores and their prey in Kafue National Park

Timeframe: 2017 - 2020 // 2020 - 2023
Country/Region: Zambia
Partner: Panthera

At 22’000 km2, Kafue National Park is Zambia’s largest national park, home to iconic large carnivores like cheetahs, lions and African wild dogs that are critical to the health of the Kafue ecosystem and all of the wildlife within it. However, rampant direct poaching of these animals and the poaching of their prey for bushmeat has drastically depleted their populations, which occur today at only 25% of their potential in the park. Law enforcement within the park is at a fraction of what is required to secure a landscape the size of Kafue NP, making it difficult to stem poaching and the continued losses of large carnivores and their prey.

To address this challenge, Panthera is leading a shift in the Park’s law enforcement strategy to a proactive approach, from a reactive one. In partnership with Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DPNW), Panthera will implement an incremental, results-driven strategy that will progressively lock down core areas of the Park using trained law enforcement patrols. The project aims at

  • Ramp-up rapid law enforcement response to poaching events across Kafue
  • Create the Park’s first “Lockdown Zones” protecting carnivores and their prey from poachers
  • Implement a rigorous system of monitoring and evaluation of law enforcement that will inform an adaptive management strategy for deploying anti-poaching patrols efficiently and effectively
  • Equip and support anti-poaching teams to use SMART to measure their effort, coverage, and outcomes.

Over the course of the project, the combination of law enforcement activities is expected to improve the population status of cheetahs, lions, and African wild dogs, as well as prey species in the Lockdown Zones. The project will establish within Kafue National Park a strong operational platform upon which to build to more effectively achieve outcomes in the future.

In 2020, Fondation Segré renewed its contribution for another 3 years to further strengthen the law enforcement activities of Panthera to preserve the integrity of the park.