Reducing snaring, mining and elephant poaching through community led Anti-Poaching in concession L5-South

Lead by Agostinho Jorge, Fernando Macamero, Silto Cristovao

Anti-poaching activities provide a critical role in increasing the opportunity costs for illegal activities, while community partnerships provide direct benefits from conservation (opening one door while we shut another). Anti-poaching efforts reduce and disrupt illegal gold mining, remove bushmeat snares, and prevent the illegal killing of elephants for ivory. In addition, this work is a valuable and high status form of employment for men that might otherwise be poaching and engages communities in the responsibilities of conserving “their” neighbouring wildlife and habitats. This has to be accompanied by effective community engagement and the development of other legal opportunities for communities to generate a cash income and provide alternative livelihoods

Our anti-poaching program aims to reduce the illegal activities of snaring, mining and elephant poaching in the area we directly manage, concession L5-South (580 km2). Our anti-poaching team consists of 50 people lead by the head of anti-poaching, Fernando Macamero. This team consists of patrol scouts and gate guards at four control gates. Our team is supported by a ‘Rapid Reaction Unit’ with a dedicated vehicle that moves across all patrol zones to where ever the greatest priority is. We also have 4 motorbikes available for rapid deployment when the vehicle is already in use and an aircraft, Husky A1 piloted by Keith Begg for patrolling. Our scouts are well equipped with GPS, cameras and Cedar CT5 devices. They are all trained for 30 days every 6 months by ANAC accredited trainers from Conservation Outcomes with additional training on the conservation law by the Warden of Niassa Reserve. They work in collaboration with our neighbours, Chuilexi Conservancy and Luwire as part of the Niassa Conservation Alliance (NCA) as well as in coordination with the Niassa National Reserve (NNR) management team who have overall oversight of Niassa Reserve.

We use SMART ( extensively to monitor our activities and anti-poaching effort. We were instrumental in setting up the Niassa SMART system, testing it and scaling it up in NCA concessions and Mbatamila. SMART is fully operational in L5-South and our SMART manager mentors and trains SMART technicians from Mbatamila, Luwire and Chuilexi Conservancy. All our scout teams have digital devices to track their patrols and monitor their wildlife sightings and illegal activities. SMART is essential to provide some independent assessment of anti-poaching activities across Niassa and identify weak scouts and implement an effective incentive system based on data. SMART is a combination of software and training materials that is designed to increase efficiency, boost morale, empower local staff and promote effective, transparent monitoring of anti-poaching efforts and methods.

Read more about our anti-poaching efforts in our annual report.