Note from the founder - Rachel McRobb
Fifteen years ago I moved to South Luangwa from a national park on the shores of Lake Tanganyika and have made it my home ever since. After running safari camps for three years, I soon felt the need to help a handful of likeminded honorary wildlife police officers who were supporting much needed anti-poaching patrols in the area. What started as part time help soon turned to a full time job in 2003 when we created the South Luangwa Conservation Society, (now Conservation South Luangwa) and I was made its Chief Executive Officer.
Twelve years later I find myself running an organization that has evolved from a small conservation society with a monthly budget of $150 to what is now a credible conservation organization with an annual budget of $600,000 and a staff compliment of 65 including an Operations Manager, 60 anti-poaching scouts, a wildlife veterinarian and a pilot. My journey with CLS has been rewarding and frustrating at the same time. I’ve witnessed first-hand over and over again the senseless poaching of elephants and the shocking snaring and suffering of hundreds of other animals, luckily many of which we are able to rescue.
But most of all, I have been rewarded by the dedication and loyalty of the Zambian men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect what belongs to them. The scouts who tirelessly patrol and react to poaching incidences, the team of staff who work to protect peoples fields from crop raiding elephants, the wildlife rescue unit who spend days tracking down snared animals, the detection dog unit who spend more time looking after and training dogs than they do with their own families and the admin team who keep it all together. All these people have fully committed themselves to our organization and have stood by us during impossible times.
Sadly, South Luangwa, like many wildlife rich places in Africa, continues to face widespread poaching of big game and the never ending challenge of snaring. Elephant poaching and the demand for ivory is once again rising and Luangwa has not been spared. We have a long way to go and a battle that needs continuous fighting. With our team and the partnerships and support we have in place, we believe we can make a difference and help protect one of the true remaining wilderness areas left in Africa.