Born in Kitwe, the son of a policeman, Benson grew up with an understanding of the importance of good law enforcement. He believes that a crime against nature is a crime against all of us. He has devoted over 20 years of his life to protecting Zambia’s wildlife for future generations, including his own four daughters.
In 1994, Benson started his career in wildlife enforcement as a scout for the North Luangwa Conservation Project. In 1997, The National Parks and Wildlife Services took over the programme and he became one of their village scouts. In 2000, after the formation of ZAWA (Zambian Wildlife Authority), Benson became a community scout. At ZAWA, he rose to the rank of Senior Wildlife Police Officer and was in charge of the training of all scouts. In fact, from 2005, Benson was also training CSL scouts. He transferred to South Luangwa in 2008 under ZAWA.
In 2009, Benson joined CSL as Operations Manager and leads all SLCS anti-poaching law enforcement and wildlife rescue operations either in the field or from his control room in collaboration with ZAWA. He has facilitated the growth and development of the anti-poaching unit from 30 to 60 scouts. His tireless dedication and discipline are an inspiration to anyone involved in wildlife law enforcement.
Richard is proud to be one of the original and now the longest serving employees of CSL. He grew up locally in the Mambwe district and began his career in wildlife law enforcement as a wildlife scout for the Game Department in Lundazi in North Luangwa at the age of 18.
In 2000, he joined CSL (when it was still known as RATZ), as a scout and rose to his current position as Unit Leader in charge of patrols. He manages at least 5 anti-poaching patrols in the field, each comprising 6 scouts (1 ZAWA: 5 CSL), at any one time. Richard believes that community engagement is key to protecting natural resources. Along with the team at CSL, he has helped turn 5 ex-poachers into highly effective law enforcement scouts and recruited new scouts from the local community.
A passionate conservationist, Richard is also central to CSL’s wildlife rescue operations with years of experience and in-field training. In 2010, he became certified in wildlife capture and rescue, after intensive training in South Africa.
DR MWAMBA SICHANDE
Mwamba is the first wildlife veterinarian in South Luangwa and one of only a handful in Zambia. His passion for animal welfare has flourished into a vocation to protect Zambia’s most endangered species.
Born in Northern Lusaka, he grew up far away from the wild animals he now protects. After graduating in 2011 from the University of Zambia’s School of Veterinarian Medicine, he started to work immediately for The Lusaka Animal Welfare Society treating dogs and cats.
In 2013, he joined CSL and underwent intensive specialist training in wildlife behaviour and rescue in the field under the supervision of CSL’s Rachel McRobb as well as ZCP’s Dr Matt Becker and Dr Wigganson Matandiko. In 2014, he became certified in the capture of wild African animals and dangerous drugs in Zimbabwe.
Mwamba splits his time between wildlife rescue in the field, (most notably with snared elephants, giraffes, lions, hyenas and wild dogs) and community outreach offering spaying, vaccinations and treatments to local domestic animals.
Godfrey was born in 1979 in Kakumbi Chiefdom in Mambwe District. He completed his primary school between 1989 to 1994 and his junior secondary education at Mfuwe Day Secondary School between 1996-1997, unfortunately he did not go further as his father had passed on and there was no financial support.
Godfrey was first employed by Kakumbi Community Resource Board as an untrained village scout for a period of twelve months in 1999. In 2001 he joined CSL, then called RATS (Rapid Action Team) as an anti-poaching scout. In 2003 he attended a three-month training course to become a Wildlife Police Officer at Chunga Wildlife College in Kafue National Park, and in 2006 he attended another intense three-month para-military training course at Nyamaluma African Wildlife Collage. Since then he has undergone four refresher training courses making him one of the most experienced and well trained scouts at CSL.
In 2014, CSL introduced a new program to help reduce wildlife trafficking in Zambia by using detection dogs. Godfrey was not surprisingly chosen along with other three officers who underwent a four-month training course to work with and understand sniffer dogs. Godfrey has successfully become a superb primary canine handler.
Born and raised in the US, Les has lived and worked in 10 different states including Alaska as well as Madagascar, Republic of Congo, and Malawi. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology, a master’s degree in wildlife ecology, and has worked for various organizations including the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, the University of Minnesota Crookston, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. In 2008, Les completed his commercial pilot’s licenses and has since enjoyed combining his passion for aviation with his strong desire to conserve wild animals and wild places. Les is a dedicated pilot and biologist with a commitment to safety and efficiency and has been a member of the CSL team since January 2017. He flies almost daily with a DNPW and a CSL scout to support monitoring and anti-poaching efforts in and around South Luangwa National Park. When he is not flying or managing aviation-related issues, he supports CSL through maintaining SMART and GIS databases used for monitoring and reporting. Les says one of the things he loves most about flying is getting to observe wildlife and habitats on a landscape scale.
Born in the United States, Jenn has enjoyed living, working and exploring the natural wonders of 12 different states and 4 African countries. She has a Master’s of Science from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point in natural resource management and spent over ten years working as a formal and non-formal educator in a variety of settings. Her diverse background includes working as a community health and outreach educator in rural Madagascar with the US Peace Corps, as a park ranger for the National Park Service in Alaska, a Youth Conservation Corps Crew Leader for the US Fish and Wildlife Service in California, a park programme development specialist for the Florida Park Service and a director of education for an environmental learning centre in Northwest Minnesota. She also has work experience with the Wildlife Conservation Society in Republic of the Congo and worked in Malawi before moving to Zambia for a position with Chipembele Wildlife Education Trust.
Jenn is the newest member of the CSL team. She joined us in May 2018 to manage our human wildlife conflict (HWC) mitigation programme. Her background in community outreach, education and programme management has been put to good use as she oversees the day to day operations of the HWC staff and their community-based projects. Her work at CSL allows her to combine her lifelong passions of working with communities and wildlife conservation.
Born and raised in Lusaka, Allan’s surname means ‘elephant’ in the local language. His relationship with wildlife began when his family moved back to Chitungulu district in his teens. Originally, Allan trained as an electrician and carpenter but he soon became interested in business while at Kapani Lodge.
He studied accountancy for two years by distance learning and obtained his Business and Finance Management Diploma in 2003 from the International Association of Bookkeepers in the UK. Allan immediately started work as an accountant for WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), enabling him to combine his dual passions of business and conservation. In 2010, he went to work for Louawata Conservation Ltd.
In 2013, Allan joined the management team at CSL as accountant. He had long since admired the hard-working ethos of the team and is happy to be applying his business planning know-how to such a worthwhile purpose. Allan feels that sustainable wildlife conservation is absolutely vital for job creation and ultimately, the long-term financial success of the community.
Born in Nsefu Chiefdom in South Luangwa, Zambia, Billy is part of the local community and understands the challenges being faced by the local community. As a father of seven, Billy is now a highly respected community member and has been working for CSL since 2005. He first joined CSL as a stores man and was promoted to head the Human Wildlife Conflict Mitigation Program in 2007 because of his excellent skills in communicating with local communities.
In July 2008, Billy became Awely's first Red Cap in Zambia. In addition to carrying out research and monitoring and putting in place education projects, he has a key role in developing the use of chilli to deter elephants from fields. Having been trained as an instructor for chilli farming, he has passed on his knowledge to over 500 farmers so far.
Ruth was born in Lusaka in 1985. After the death of her mother in 1988, she came to Malama chiefdom to live with relatives. In 2004, after finishing 12th grade at Mfuwe Secondary School, she went on to work as a Sales Agent for a national bank, Zanaco for 5 years. Whilst working there she was often in contact with members of the community and came to know Billy, our Zambian Red Cap coordinator. She joined Awely in 2013 as a database manager and particularly enjoys working with local people.
Eric was born in 1977 and joined CSL in 2002 when it was known as Rapid Action Team. At that time, he was an untrained scout and in 2005 when a training opportunity arose he was one of those selected to attend. Although it was a tough paramilitary training course, he successfully passed. One of the training instructors was Benson Kanyembo who is now the CSL Operations Manager. During his time at CSL, Eric took a break and worked for a security company in Lusaka but found life in the city difficult, and returned to Mfuwe and CSL in 2014. On official duty whilst riding a motorbike in 2015, Eric was involved in a serious road accident which left him with severe multiple broken bones and very nearly disabled. Many operations later, he has recovered and now holds the important position of Radio Control Man and Boat Driver.
Born in Mufulira in the Copperbelt in 1979, Mike attended Chadiza Secondary School for his secondary education. He joined Kakumbi Community Resource Board as an untrained village scout in 2003 and in 2005 Mike underwent a three-month recruit scout training course and did very well. After the training he continued working with Kakumbi CRB from 2003 to 2009 and in 2010 I was taken on by Conservation South Luangwa.
Because of Mike’s long relationship with CSL and his dedication to his work, Mike was chosen to be trained as a detection dog handler in 2014 and successfully developed into a primary handler. During this time, he was fully employed by DPNW but seconded back to the Detection Dog team full time.
In Mike’s words ‘The program of the detection dogs has really helped to reduce trafficking of wildlife products in South Luangwa and other areas, I love my work and will continue supporting this program to keep on going’.
Jessie joined Department of National Parks and Wildlife in 1990 and has been with the department since then, over 25 years. Jessie has worked in different sections including anti-poaching, licensing and gate management. Jessie joined the CSL Detection dog team in 2014 and successfully completed the training to become a secondary handler. Jessie is the Unit’s only female handler and important for operations. Jessie is able to handle both Ruger and Earl with ease.
Christopher joined the CSL Detection Dog unit in 2014 and successfully became a primary handler. He and his dog Earl work extremely well together and have both achieved good results.
Christopher has been with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife for the past 24 years and is a well-trained anti-poaching scout who is seconded back to the Detection Dog Unit.