Photo Credit: Chase Dart

Saving Africa’s Dogs and Cats: Collaborative Wildlife Crime Prevention, Field-based Protection and Coexistence, and Capacity-Building for Community-Based Conservation of Zambia’s Threatened Wild Dog, Lion, Cheetah and Leopard Populations



Bordering eight countries with nearly 40% of its landmass managed for wildlife-based uses, Zambia has regionally significant populations of African Wild Dog, Lion, Cheetah and Leopard. These populations are at increasing risk due to multiple human threats, nevertheless, including the illegal bushmeat and wildlife trade, habitat loss, conflict, disease and inadequate community conservation capacity.


The project employs an integrated and comprehensive approach to large carnivore conservation that addresses priority threats using a three-pronged approach with an array of activities focused on

1). Addressing Wildlife Crime.

2). Field-based Protection of Large Carnivores, their prey and habitat.

3). Capacity-building for Community Conservation. 

Three main ecosystems including the Luangwa valley, the Greater Kafue Ecosystem, and the Greater Liuwa Ecosystem are home to the majority of the country’s large carnivore populations. This project centres on and expands upon long-term field-based projects focusing on all large carnivore species in all three ecosystems.  With a strong team of partnering organizations including decades of experience in all facets of carnivore conservation work, collectively this work addresses the main threats to Zambia’s big cat and wild dog populations at a critical juncture.


The project team expects three main results from this work that correspond to our three broad categories of activities, specifically:

1). A 30% increase in snare recoveries, snaring arrests, and rifle-poaching arrests from 65 community-supported scouts, covering at least 10,000km a year using foot and dog patrols.

2). Big cat and wild dog habitat and population impacts from snaring by-catch, direct persecution, conflict, prey depletion, human encroachment, and poorly managed trophy hunting of carnivores and herbivores addressed through intensive monitoring and coordination with field-based vets and patrols, the formation of three poison response teams, two human-carnivore conflict mitigation teams, and by providing science-based recommendations to government on carnivore population trends, distribution, land-use change and trophy hunting impacts. 

3). A strong community capacity and support to lead conservation efforts now and into the future.

This project is a part of the IUCN SOS African Wildlife initiative, which is funded by the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DG Devco) through its B4Life initiative.

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