Elephants successfully collared in Sioma Ngwezi National Park | WWF Zambia

Elephants successfully collared in Sioma Ngwezi National Park

Posted on
03 October 2017
By Eneya B. Phiri,

We recently supported the successful collaring of elephants in the Sioma Ngwezi National Park (NP) in  Western Province. In a joint operation by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Elephant Connection – a Zambian based elephant research organisation and Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP), eight satellite GPS tracking collars were deployed between Sioma and Imusho across 3 herds of Elephants.

This is in line with our conservation efforts to protect endangered wildlife species from a variety of threats including poaching, human-wildlife conflicts and habitat loss.

According to our Species and Protected Areas Specialist Moses Nyirenda, Elephant Collaring is a tool that provides for easy tracking of  elephants thereby enabling collection and analysis of  critical information about their  short and long term movement patterns, their needs, behaviour and social organization.

“The collars provide accurate real-time observation of the GPS location of elephants. This data, transmitted via satellite, will be used to monitor the movements of  elephant herds in the transboundary ecosystem. We expect the information to contribute towards reducing poaching of elephants in the ecosystem as well through the application of research-led deployment of patrol teams. The data will also enable identification and verification of elephant corridors, and dispersal areas as well as understanding the specific needs of elephants  in this  poorly researched ecosystem” Mr. Nyirenda says.

Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar illicit business that is decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations. This has to be put to an end. In Zambia, the population of elephants in the Sioma Ngwezi National park has reduced from an estimated 1,089 in 2004 to 48 in 2015. The elephant population trend since 2004 has been significantly downwards. In 2015 alone the Sioma Ngwezi National Park accounted for 15 of the 136 elephants poached in Zambia. These statistics indicate that Sioma Ngwezi National Park is a hot spot for transboundary poaching of elephants in Zambia. The elephant population in Sioma Ngwezi National Park is extremely vulnerable to transboundary poaching and this collaring exercise will provide vital support in data availability on elephant movement that is needed to turn around the poaching trends.

And Acting Country Director Seif Hamisi says WWF is keen to support partnerships and interventions that ensure that the gains made on securing elephant and indeed wildlife populations in Zambia are sustained, enhanced and secured. “There is no turning back on securing our wildlife. Wildlife is the key missing ingredient that is urgently needed to develop a viable tourism based economy that contributes to the resilient livelihoods of the people living in the Silowana Complex. We will continue to be a dependable partner to the government’s efforts on this and other wildlife conservation and sustainable livelihood interventions” Dr. Hamisi says.

Zambia is one of the five countries implementing the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) treaty and programme, contributing approximately 23% of the total KAZA landscape. The Zambian component of KAZA holds nearly 7,600 of the 216,000 elephants in KAZA. 


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