Zambian Carnivore Programme

The Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) manages conservation projects across the country of Zambia, including projects in the Luangwa Valley and Greater Kafue ecosystems, which collectively comprise the country’s strongholds for lions, cheetahs and wild dogs. The focus for ZCP is on apex predators, but the impact of conserving iconic carnivores stretches well beyond those species, especially as ZCP integrates all of its conservation work with community education, training and empowerment of local conservation leaders. Gemfields’ funding provides satellite collars for lions, cheetahs and wild dogs, which are essential for ZCP to track their location to identify when a pride may have come into contact with snares or poachers. The team can then follow groups with a single collared animal, and at present, the team monitor nearly 40 lion prides, over 20 dog packs and a dozen cheetah groups, collectively comprising over 600 animals, and a significant proportion of the country-wide population for each species. ZCP sight animals on a regular basis to ensure they’re snare-free, in addition to providing key science-based conservation guidance for these threatened species in Zambia. In the Luangwa Valley and Greater Kafue, Gemfields supports ZCP in working closely with the government to support anti-poaching efforts, combat wildlife crime and support land-use planning, species reintroductions and ways to mitigate the threat of disease, whilst researching the lifestyles of these beautiful creatures. Dr Matt Becker, the ZCP Director, says: “Our long-term funding partnership with Gemfields provides us with perhaps the most important tool for our field-based conservation work: the ability to find, monitor and protect Zambia’s big cats and wild dogs. With GPS/Satellite collar technology, our work is effective across the vast, remote landscapes that these species inhabit in Zambia. With this support, our teams can conduct vital conservation work, provide key scientific data and help to empower the current and future conservation leaders of Zambia to ensure that these important species and ecosystems remain for future generations.”