Zambia, Africa
Musekese Conservation

Musekese Conservation is a not-for-profit Zambian run organization established in 2017 in response to the increasing trend and severity of illegal poaching that is having an enormous impact on populations of elephants, large carnivores and their prey base, as well as other ungulates in and around the Kafue National Park (KNP). Musekese Conservation in the first instance is an intervention designed to secure and protect these populations within the Musekese-Lumbeya Intensive Protection Zone (ML IPZ), a 2724km2 area within the Kafue National Park.

Their core focusses are Law Enforcement and Ecological Research. Regarding Law enforcement, they have identified, recruited and trained 3 full time anti-poaching teams and equipped them with the necessary skills and tools to effectively stop illegal poaching of wildlife in the ML IPZ. There is a plan to increase this number to 5 full time anti-poaching teams. Regarding Ecological Research, they have recently set up a research programme that collects data on all large carnivore and large herbivore populations within the ML IPZ, both to establish baseline population estimates and population trends over time, and relate these to their anti-poaching efforts. This allows them to quantify the effectiveness of their anti-poaching efforts and allows them to make informed management decisions about how best to protect the wildlife within the ML IPZ.

Who's Involved
Musekese Conservation
Profits from our shop have been used for this project
A NatureSpy Supported Project
More About Musekese
Find out more about Musekese Conservation and the awesome work they're doing to increase and strengthen the conservation of wildlife in Kafue National Park.
Visit Musekese Conservation

Project Aims
Project Strategy
How NatureSpy is helping?
  • 1. To Determine the current distribution and abundance of lions and other large carnivores (cheetahs, leopards, painted dogs, and spotted hyaenas) across the Musekese-Lumbeya portion of the Kafue National Park.
  • 2. To Determine the current distribution of the main large carnivore prey species (Elephants, Zebra, Cape Buffalo, Roan Antelope, Sable Antelope, Eland, Greater Kudu, Hartebeest, and Wildebeest) across the Musekese-Lumbeya portion of the Kafue National Park.
  • 3. To Collect spatial data (including through the already implemented SMART program) on potential threats to large carnivores and other wildlife species (e.g. presence of poaching camps etc.) and biotic factors (presence of water, habitat types, etc.), to assess factors that potentially limit their distribution and densities across the Musekese-Lumbeya portion of the Kafue National Park.
  • Musekese are implementing a number of robust scientific methodologies to determine the distribution and abundance of key species. In order to do this, they will be using four main methods: Spatially-Explicit Capture Recapture (SECR) vehicle surveys, spoor transects, camera trap surveys, and distance sampling surveys. Each of these methods will provide a measure of distribution, abundance, or both. This will allow them to have multiple estimates for comparison.
  • 1. SECR will be conducted in a vehicle where the team essentially drive around looking for animals and record what they find. This method will be used to determine both distribution and abundance of large carnivores, as well as individually recognisable herbivores (Zebra, Elephant, Greater Kudu).
  • 2. Spoor transects (animal tracks) will be used to provide insight on the distribution of all focus species within the ML IPZ.
  • 3. Distance sampling will be used to provide a measure of both distribution and abundance of key herbivore species within the ML IPZ.
  • However, all three of the above methodologies are limited by the road network in the ML IPZ. Of the 2,724km2 of land in the ML IPZ, 1,300km2 is >5km from a road. To account for this, they will be conducting a systematic camera trap survey across the entire ML IPZ that will create a reliable estimate of distribution of all focus species within the study area.
  • 4. To measure the distribution of their focus species in their camera trap survey, they have divided the ML IPZ into 35 10x10km grid cells. They will deploy single camera traps within 2km of the centroid of each 10x10 grid cell, meaning camera traps will be roughly 10km apart. This camera spacing is a compromise – they are spread out enough so that larger species with larger home ranges can be sampled with sufficient detection probability, whilst also preventing over-spacing, to reduce the likelihood of missing species with smaller home ranges.
  • At each location, cameras will be attached to a tree roughly at knee height. Placement will be semi-random; they will not place camera traps near feeding or drinking sites as these will have skewed animal abundance, however they will be placed facing a vehicle track or game trail, as carnivore species are more likely to be detected by cameras on game trails than cameras situated randomly. If the survey has adequate sampling effort (>1400 camera trap nights) this placement strategy is unlikely to affect inferences at the community level. Cameras will be placed at each location for roughly 30 days before being replaced.
  • NatureSpy will be providing all necessary equipment (35 cameras, boxes, cables, batteries, and SD cards) to conduct our camera trap survey. With NatureSpy's support, Musekese will be able to conduct research into an area of the Kafue National Park that has only ever been visited on foot by anti-poaching teams.
  • By supplying camera traps, NatureSpy will be giving the team the tools to survey and help protect an area larger than the Lake District National Park. NatureSpy's support will allow them to determine the distribution of large carnivores and herbivores in a park where everything is endangered, and it will provide hard data which will aid in their guiding of anti-poaching patrols.
  • Ultimately, with NatureSpy’s support, Musekese Conservation will be able to halt the decline of key species and allow the ML IPZ to become a stronghold for Lions, Elephants, Cheetahs, and many more species within the Kafue National Park.
Camera Used
The Browning Recon Force Advantage is used in Zambia for its robustness and excellent image quality.
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