African Parks’ core focus is on strengthening conservation law enforcement and securing Kafue National Park against immediate threats to its wildlife populations. Our vision is to establish Kafue as a globally significant wildlife sanctuary and a premiere tourism destination, providing healthy ecosystem services and sustainable revenue streams for the Zambian people.
At 22,400 km2 Kafue is Zambia’s largest national park. It is surrounded by nine Game Management Areas (GMAs), which has ensured that the vast wilderness landscape is buffered and has remained largely intact. Although the park has endured the negative impacts of poaching and other threats, Kafue still contains a large diversity of flora and fauna: 158 mammal species, 515 bird species, 70 reptile species, 58 species of fish and 36 amphibious species.
Kafue has the potential to be one of Africa’s most important sanctuaries for savannah elephant, protecting a globally significant population. Historically hosting large numbers of the species, the 2014 Great Elephant Census estimated the park’s population to be over 3,000 animals.
In 2021, an aerial survey was undertaken, focusing on elephant and other large mammals across Kafue and the surrounding GMAs. In addition, a number of individuals were collared – elephant, buffalo, lion, wild dog, cheetah, eland and hyaena – through partnerships with the Zambian Carnivore Programme, Musekese, Game Rangers International, Mushingashi and Panthera. The results of the survey, together with the collared animal monitoring data, will contribute to a baseline against which to measure the progress of restoration of the ecosystem and help improve protection measures.
Together with monitoring partners, a rescue operation was mounted in the north of the park, to save seven lion cubs whose mothers had been killed in poachers’ snares. These animals were initially secured in an enclosure in Liuwa Plain National Park and in early 2023, were returned to Kafue, where they will remain in a holding ‘boma’ until their release back into the wild.
Much-needed infrastructure for park management has been put in place, including a state-of the-art conservation Law Enforcement Centre and the introduction of EarthRanger as an effective conservation management tool. An aerial unit has also been established with an ultralight aircraft for surveillance and a helicopter for emergency responses and access to remote and inaccessible areas. A total of 80 new scouts were selected for training in 2022 to join the ranger team.
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