The World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) has completed a successful elephant collaring in the Sioma Ngwezi National Park in Western Province.

In a joint operation with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Wildlife Crime Prevention (WCP) recently, WWF deployed eight satellite GPS tracking collars across 3 herds of Elephants between Sioma and Imusho.

According to WWF Zambia Species and Protected Areas Specialist, Moses Nyirenda, Elephant Collaring is a tool that provides for easier tracking of the animals, thus enabling collection and analysis of critical information about the wildlife habitats.

“We expect the information to contribute towards reducing poaching of elephants in the ecosystem as well through the application of research-led deployment of patrol teams. The data will also enable identification and verification of elephant corridors, and dispersal areas as well as understanding the specific needs of elephants in this poorly researched ecosystem,” said Nyirenda.

And WWF Zambia Acting Country Director Seif Hamisi said the elephant population in Sioma Ngwezi NP was extremely vulnerable to transboundary poaching.

“Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar illicit business that is decimating Africa’s iconic animal populations. This has to be put to an end, one way or the other. In Zambia, the population of elephants in the Sioma Ngwezi National park has reduced from an estimated 1,089 in 2004 to 48 in 2015. The elephant population trend since 2004 has been significantly downwards,” said Seith.

“In 2015 alone the Sioma Ngwezi National Park accounted for 15 of the 136 elephants poached in Zambia. These statistics indicate that Sioma Ngwezi National Park is a hot spot for transboundary poaching of elephants in Zambia. We have to beat the poaching gangs on elephant surveillance, support decisive anti-poaching intervention; this is exactly what we are doing.”

Zambia is one of the five countries implementing the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) treaty and programme, contributing approximately 23 per cent of the total KAZA landscape. The Zambian component of KAZA holds approximately 7,600 of the 216,000 elephants in KAZA.