North Luangwa National Park is a pristine wilderness area in Zambia bordered by the Muchinga Escarpment and the Luangwa River, one of the few remaining free flowing major rivers worldwide. Together with surrounding Game Management Areas, the park is part of a 17,500 km2 remote and unspoilt haven for abundant and varied wildlife including the endemic Thornicroft’s Giraffe. The park is also home to the country’s only black rhino and largest elephant populations, and these, despite the rampant poaching that has decimated other areas throughout Africa, have remained stable. However, as other populations dwindle, and anti-poaching efforts elsewhere increase, North Luangwa is facing mounting pressure. For 30 years, the North Luangwa Conservation Program (NLCP), a partnership between the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Zambia Wildlife Authority, has worked to reintroduce rhinos to the park, and to protect them as well as the park’s elephants and other wildlife. Ed Sayer, NLCP’s Project Leader, discusses why the project’s combination of protected area management, law enforcement and community engagement has been successful, and the steps NLCP is now taking to meet the escalating threat.
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