After two weeks spent in a Fellowship with Conservation South Luangwa (CSL), I’ve returned home with some unforgettable experiences and many valuable learnings. I was pleased to be able to utilise my photographic skills and experience to capture some special moments during the trip (included below).
CSL is a Zambian wildlife protection and rescue organisation that aims to work with community and conservation partners in the protection of the wildlife and habitats of the South Luangwa ecosystem (CSL website). For nearly eight years, Taronga has supported the incredible work of this organisation through our Field Grants and Fellowships programs.
One of the highlights of my time in South Luangwa was assisting the Zambian Carnivore Project re-collar a wild lioness – an experience that will stay with me forever. The team was very experienced with immobilising wildlife, especially carnivores. The collars are used to track animals, especially in the event they have been snared and need rescuing. While we were processing the lion, the remaining nine lions of her pride caught and killed an impala just 20 metres from us – another awe-inspiring moment that I feel lucky to have had.
Snaring is widespread in South Luangwa. CSL has set up a specialised wild dog and lion anti-snaring team that uses GPS locations to determine where best to deploy anti-snaring patrols. I spent time on patrol with the CSL scouts, and on a two-hour patrol, we found more than 10 snares! I helped to check over a dozen vehicles with detection dogs at the entrance to a National Park, and even assisted in planting pangolin scales in particular vehicles as a training exercise for the dogs.
I witnessed the massive human-elephant conflict issue common in Zambian villages, in a village called Mfuwe. It was eye-opening to learn that the day I arrived, a man had been killed by an elephant. I was able to speak to his family and neighbours about the situation, which was very moving. There are a number of methods that CSL is using to protect people and their homes from elephants, including planting chilli crops and using chilli bomb guns to deter elephants in a way that is both effective for people and safe for wildlife.
The CSL Fellowship is one of the best things I have ever done, and I am extremely grateful for the support of Taronga. It makes me proud to know that I work in an organisation that supports a project like CSL.
-Bobby-Jo Clow, TWPZ Keeper