NLCP in depth

Background

The North Luangwa Conservation Programme (NLCP) is a Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) programme and a Zambian NGO established in 1986 to add capacity to, and to work in partnership with, the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA). Although Zambia is relatively stable politically, the country is impoverished with inadequate funding available for the wildlife sector.

FZS NLCP is a very broad-based project that is involved in all aspects of the management of North Luangwa National Park and the adjacent Game Management Areas. The overall goal of the NLCP is: to develop and implement policies and plans in support of effective ecosystem management, to maintain the wilderness of North Luangwa National Park, and the function of the natural ecosystems in surrounding areas, for its intrinsic value and benefit to people.

NLCP supports the Zambia Wildlife Authority, focusing on law enforcement anti-poaching, park operations and infrastructure development; and in recent years to include ranger training, management planning, implementing a geographical information system for management use and, significantly, conservation education.

Translocations

In the 1970s Zambia had Africa's third largest black rhino population estimated at 12,000. Approximately 4,000 lived in the Luangwa Valley and about 2,000 of those were found in North Luangwa National Park (NLNP). By 1990 these had been virtually exterminated from the country and black rhino were declared nationally extinct in 1998.

Through the North Luangwa Conservation Programme, poaching was brought under control and by 2001 a proposal was put forward to reintroduce black rhino to NLNP. NLCP has led and coordinated the initiative to reintroduce the species and in 2003 the first of four deliveries took place with the arrival of five black rhino to NLNP. Ten more arrived in 2006, five more in 2008 and the last five were delivered in 2010 establishing a viable population of black rhino; the challenge now is to ensure that they stay alive and safe from poachers and breed successfully.

Monitoring and evaluation

It is vital to monitor and evaluate how well a programme is performing against its objectives

Community

NLCP employs more than 50 local people directly (2 permanent international staff, about 20 permanent local staff and around 30 temporary casual staff). The conservation education programme Lolesha Luangwa reaches upwards of 1500 schoolchildren and through them the programme impacts on many more people. 

Education

The programme runs a successful conservation education programme called Lolesha Luangwa supported by fundraising from Save the Rhino. To read more about Lolesha Luangwa click here.

Habitat and other species:

The Luangwa valley is the oldest part of the well-known Great Rift Valley on the continent. It is dominated by the river of the same name running through its centre sandwiched between the Mafinga and Muchinga escarpments in the east and west respectively.  Moist miombo, Combretum-Terminalia and mopane woodlands as well as the wildlife-dense alluvial floodplains provide the majority of habitats.

North Luangwa National Park (4,636 km²) is located in the mid- to upper Luangwa Valley in Muchinga Province of northern Zambia. As well as providing an important habitat for the Critically Endangered black rhino (Diceros bicornis minor), North Luangwa National Park also supports a wide variety of species including the remaining Big 5 species - elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard; the endemic Cookson's wildebeest and Crawshay's zebra; the continent’s greatest concentration of hippo; a growing population of wild dog; many more impala, puku, greater kudu, eland, waterbuck, warthog, spotted hyena, baboon, vervet monkey, and over 400 species of birds. 

Visiting North Luangwa

There are a few, upmarket, seasonal camps in North Luangwa National Park specialising in walking safaris.