The South Luangwa Conservation Society (SLCS) is a non-profit, community based organisation focused on anti-poaching and de-snaring operations in the South Luangwa National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas.
Norman Carr Safaris has supported the society since its inception in 2003 and now holds corporate membership, with two of the NCS directors sitting on the SLCS board of trustees.
More than 60% of Zambia's 14.5 million population live in rural areas, and the population of Mfuwe has expanded rapidly in recent years as a result of the tourism industry and its employment potential. As the human population on the outskirts of the park grows, so too do both legal (agriculture) and illegal (poaching, with firearms and snare wire) activities, which puts considerable pressure on the habitats and wildlife.
In the Luangwa Valley, the prevalence of tsetse flies limits livestock rearing to small herds of goats and a few small-scale pig farms. As a result, we do not experience the conflict of interests between grazing grounds for wildlife and livestock that are so common in parts of East Africa. That said, people require protein and residents of the Luangwa Valley have traditionally relied on hunting local antelope and other game animals. Whilst anti-poaching is the primary focus of the South Luangwa Conservation Society's mandate, they also help to uplift local communities by establishing alternative income generating projects.
Unfortunately, poaching for elephant ivory and the commercial bushmeat trade has also increased in the past five years, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of animals. Poaching generally takes two forms in South Luangwa: with firearms, typically muzzleloader guns, and wire snaring. Wire snares are affixed to trees or other secure objects, with the objective to trap an antelope walking by.
However, snaring is indiscriminate and all species – including elephant, lion, leopard, hyena, and the endangered wild dog – can and do become ensnared as well. These animals pull the wire off of the fixed object and over time the wire cuts into the animal’s flesh, resulting in at best a terrible wound but oftentimes, if undetected by SLCS or others, the snares will sever a limb or render the animal unable to eat, drink, or hunt. SLCS employs a fulltime wildlife veterinarian, who is equipped to immobilize all species and remove snare wires and treat wire-inflicted wounds.
SLCS is also supported by Mulberry Mongoose, an Mfuwe-based jewellery business comprised of local female artisans. The Mulberry Mongoose artisans take the collected snare wire and incorporate the wire into hand-crafted, elegant adornments. In turn, Mulberry Mongoose donates money back to SLCS; over the past three years, they have raised more than $50,000USD for de-snaring operations in South Luangwa and continue to expand these donations annually. Guests can visit the workshop, which is next to Kapani Lodge, during a visit to the South Luangwa National Park.
For more information about the important work carried out by SLCS, or to find out how you can directly support conservation of the Luangwa Valley, please see their website.
If you would like to learn more about the Mulberry Mongoose snare-wire collection and their approach to local conservation and sustainable development, please visit.