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Safeguarding Zambia's Wildlife Heritage: The Role of Rhino and Elephant Protection Units

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Luangwa River valley, situated within the Rift Valley in north-eastern Zambia, lies a vast expanse of protected land managed by the North Luangwa Conservation Program (NLCP). Covering approximately 4,636km2 of national park and an additional c.17,400km2 of 'Game Management Areas' (GMAs), NLCP plays a pivotal role in preserving Zambia's diverse biodiversity.

One of the pivotal initiatives within NLCP is the Rhino and Elephant Protection Unit (REPU), a dedicated force comprising 160 rangers serving as 'tier 1' anti-poaching units. Recently, the Savsim Conservation and Innovation Centre (SAVSIM CIC) successfully completed a 6-week programme aimed at enhancing REPU's capabilities. This programme focused on rationalising and improving stores, training quartermasters to optimise logistics, and strengthening the overall supply chain.

Partnership for Conservation:

NLCP operates under the auspices of a public-private partnership with the 'Frankfurt Zoological Society' (FZS) and the Zambian government's 'Department of National Parks & Wildlife' (DNPW). This collaborative effort underscores the significance of combining public and private resources to protect Zambia's natural heritage.

Protected Areas:

The management responsibilities of NLCP extend over a vast area, comprising not only the national park but also extensive 'Game Management Areas.' In total, the protected regions within the Luangwa River valley form a substantial sanctuary for wildlife, ensuring the survival of diverse species in their natural habitat.

The Role of Rhino and Elephant Protection Unit (REPU):

At the forefront of NLCP's conservation efforts is the Rhino and Elephant Protection Unit (REPU), a specialised force dedicated to combating poaching. Comprising 160 rangers organised into 'tier 1' anti-poaching units, REPU operates in various capacities, including the REPU Mobile for long-range patrolling, the Rhino Monitoring Unit (RMU), and the K9 & Fenceline for rhino sanctuary fence security.

Unified Resource Management:

Efficient resource management is crucial for the success of any conservation initiative. REPU draws its resources from a centralised system, including one equipment store, one ration store, and two armouries (main and sub). Additionally, there is a specialised store for training equipment, ensuring that the rangers are equipped with the necessary tools and supplies to carry out their duties effectively.

The recent capacity-building programme undertaken by SAVSIM CIC is a testament to the commitment of all stakeholders involved in the protection of Zambia's wildlife. The Rhino and Elephant Protection Unit, operating within the North Luangwa Conservation Program, stands as a formidable force against poaching, safeguarding the country's natural heritage for generations to come. Through collaborative efforts and strategic initiatives, Zambia is paving the way for sustainable conservation practices, setting an inspiring example for the global community in the ongoing battle to preserve our planet's biodiversity.

To find out more about our mission and how you can help, please visit us on our website or follow us on Instagram @savsim_official.

On behalf of the animals, we protect and the veterans we support.



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