We wanted to share this message, from Rachel McRobb, CEO of South Lungwa Conservation Society. Every guest staying at Kaingo and Mwamba contributes towards the operational costs of SLCS, through the park fees and levies (LCCF) which are included in our rates ($5 per person per night goes towards SLCS). Additional financial donations are a must however to finance the many patrols, training, and salaries of the scouts working for SLCS.
Coming to South Luangwa is not about our camps, it’s about the incredible wildlife that we have and that you are able to experience.
NB: the minimum wage increase refers to the latest decision made by the Zambian Government to increase the levels of salaries by over 60%, without advance notice. This regulation is being disputed by the majority of working sectors in Zambia as it is not sustainable.
Dear all our SLCS Valley supporters,
I thought I would update you on current SLCS activities, where your funding has been going and what the minimum wage increase may mean for us.
SLCS continues to go from strength to strength and it sometimes still amazes me how we started (about twelve years ago) as an organization set up by tour operators hoping to help National Parks through their teething problems to the current ZAWA. With a lot of enthusiasm and support behind us, mainly from all of you, and with the amazing team and leadership we now have from Benson Kanyembo – Operations Manager, Amon Banda – book keeper, Billy Banda – human wildlife conflict mitigator and Richard Zulu – Unit Leader, SLCS has gone from a rather unknown organization to a well disciplined set up with key leaders each running their own section who plays a key role in conservation in Luangwa. Of course I still come in to it and oversee things.
Despite all our efforts we are still faced with ongoing challenges and this year in particular, poaching has increased quite drastically, with much happening in Nsefu, Mwanya and Malama. The 56 village scouts we support and supervise under the Operations Manager are flat out and over stretched as it is and I am desperately looking for additional funding through international donors to fund more scouts. This would be for running costs only and not salaries. Donors do not typically fund salaries and this has always been one of our biggest challenges. And this is where the LCCF funding and your monthly subs has come in to rescue us in addition to funding some operations, emergency anti-poaching call outs, human wildlife conflict mitigation and snare removals.
This year so far the scouts we support have conducted the following patrols and have achieved these results:
(LP = Long Patrol, SP = Short Patrol, DP = Day Patrol, DR = Drying Rack for poached meat)
In addition to this we have immobilized three elephants, one hyaena and a lioness for snare removal and this will likely ramp up any day as we get further in to the dry season.
We also had a fantastic community Fun Run last month with our biggest turn out so far and great support from our operators again.
Our average annual budget is $300,000 and now with our plane about to arrive and our new pilot, this will be bumped up to $350,000. We believe the plane will make a huge impact to ours and ZAWA’s work here in Luangwa.
The new minimum wages is of course a huge issue to us as it is for all employers in the Valley and we have held off doing anything just yet. If we implement it, I have to find $25,000 extra a year and this is highly unlikely as donors do not pay salaries. So what to do? If we lay off scouts we are going backwards as our core activity is law enforcement and given that poaching is increasing it makes no sense to do this whatsoever.
I just thought I would keep you all in the loop and drop you a line to say how much we appreciate the support so far especially the large funding LCCF is now providing, and a reminder that it is essential to our work and core funding. The funding we receive from Luangwa is also vital for matching funds we receive internationally, donors always want to see local and sustainable support.
If you want to read more about the South Luangwa Conservation Society, click here to access the website. You can read the quarterly reports, which lists the incredible amount of work done by the organization. You can also donate directly via the internet. If visiting Kaingo and Mwamba, we do have envelopes for SLCS donations.