Law Enforcement

When we began working in Bangweulu in 2008, park and village scouts employed by the Community Resource Boards (CRBs) lacked equipment and training. This precluded scouts from conducting effective, extensive, and frequent patrols within Bangweulu, and more often than not, hard-to-reach areas went unpatrolled.  In 2021, the Chikuni camp was reconstructed into a water-based operational area, which provides the central point for all waterborne activities within the core conservation area. Three law enforcement camps were also established in Chiundaponde, Chitambo, and Kopa. These sites handle land-based operations.

Training

Law Enforcement Training Bangweulu Vanessa Stephens © Vanessa Stephens
Law enforcement training is ongoing and showing positive results.

Bangweulu’s law enforcement team has grown to 85 rangers. In 2021, the team conducted 13, 342 days in the field, which resulted in 116 arrests being made. By strategically recruiting and training law enforcement officers, we and our partners have brought poaching under control. Poaching has consistently decreased, allowing the endemic black lechwe to experience a remarkable comeback.

Fishing Ban

A fishing ban has been implemented during the spawning season to allow fish stocks time to recover. Close collaboration with the community leadership, along with monitoring by law enforcement officials and village scouts, has resulted in community adherence to the annual ban and improved fishing yields have already been reported.

Positive Results

Community Members Bangweulu Mana Meadows © Mana Meadows
Community members harvesting natural resources in Bangweulu.

In 14 years, Bangweulu has been transformed. Working with the six CRBs and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, we have brought poaching under control, allowing wildlife populations to rebound. And collaborative programmes with local communities ensure that Bangweulu’s resources are sustainably harvested in a way that benefits people and wildlife. Through community engagement and educational programmes, we have helped communities appreciate links between wildlife conservation and sustainable livelihoods. As a result, unsustainable fishing practices and poaching have decreased.