The Kafue National Park
The Kafue National Park (KNP) was first established by Norman Carr in the 1950’s and is the largest national park in Zambia and the second largest national park in Africa, covering an area of about 22,400km. The KNP is home to over 55 different species of mammals including more species of ungulate than any national park south of the Congo Basin, furthermore it is also regarded as one of the best places to Leopard in the whole of Africa.
Due to the sheer size of the park it faces many challenges in protection and support. Historically the park has been short of rangers, this year there has been a rise in the training program with an additional 100 rangers undergoing training at Chunga Camp in central KNP. The park is also seeing a rise in operators coming into the park, not only does this rise the tourism in the park the presence of these indirectly acts as anti-poaching and support to their surrounding communities.
There are some fantastic research operations already on the ground in the KNP such as those operated by Zambian Carnivore Programme ZCP and Panthera. We hope to learn and work with these organisations on the research and data collection to record the animals that are snared and poached each year in the Kafue. One project that is already in motion within the park is the identification of Intensive Protection Zones (IPZ) – Each area is between 1,500-2,000km2 – which ultimately is securing 50% of the KNP. The planning and execution of these have been carefully considered to maximise the benefit for conservation, tourism and job creation for adjacent communities. The Kafue Foundation hopes to work to increase the area which is protected as we believe this creates a ripple effect in helping our 3 core areas of focus: conservation, community and education.
Many operators in the park play their own part in helping a cause that’s relevant to their own geographic footprint. Inevitably donations to execute these focused projects come from tourists to their lodge. The Kafue Foundation hopes to help support these smaller projects and help them strategize and achieve their goals.
A lot of research has been done into other areas of improving the security of the Park and what keeps shining through is the education of the peripheral communities. We must encourage and improve more engagement with the communities. Combined programmes and fund raising would be more effective and have a better reach. The Foundation can, through its partners have an influence and give good direction for the elements we know are paramount to improve on.
The KNP holds potential for greatness. We believe that the foundation can help unite the initiatives on the ground and further support and amplify them.