Zambian Carnivores Program: Using research to help wildlife

The Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) is a non-profit, Zambian-registered trust dedicated to conserving large carnivores and the ecosystems. They conduct research in order to  identify and evaluate the limiting factors and threats to the persistence of species and ecosystems.

They also do various conservation and management activities to address immediate threats as identified by their research, and have a capacity-building and education program which ensures sustainability through the implementation of training, employment, and educational opportunities for aspiring Zambians students. 

ZCP currently works in all of the country’s major large carnivore populations (wild dog, cheetah, lion, leopard and spotted hyena) and has field-based projects in Eastern Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, the Greater Liuwa Ecosystem, and in the Greater Kafue Ecosystem. 

They work closely with the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), as well as a number of academic institutions, including Montana State University, California State University-Monterrey, and University of Arizona. 

Their research currently provides "the only scientific data on large carnivores and herbivores for much of their range in Zambia and has been utilised extensively in guiding Zambian conservation policy".


ZCP provides data to the Zambia Wildlife Authority in order to inform their conservation decision-making processes with regards to large carnivores. 

Accordingly, ZCP relies on a full-time, year-round research presence in our study sites. The research entails intensive studies of radio-collared packs, prides, clans, and coalitions as well as broader landscape level evaluations of carnivore presence, abundance, distribution and that of their prey species. 


There are a variety of threats and limiting factors to carnivores and their habitats across all of the ZCP study sites. 

While accurate and current research is needed to effectively inform conservation efforts, eminent threats identified by research require immediate attention. Consequently ZCP has a wide range of collaborative conservation initiatives including addressing wire-snaring, bushmeat poaching and human encroachment; domestic dog vaccinations to reduce disease transmission to wild populations; monitoring and mitigating human-carnivore conflict; and assisting with species reintroduction.


The sustainability of ZCP’s work relies on the ability of current and future Zambian conservationists to receive the training, education and employment necessary to ensure continuity of the process.  

Consequently they have a comprehensive educational programme beginning at the secondary school level and extending up through the international Ph.D. level. 

Currently, ZCP has Zambian graduate students attached to every project and attending top international universities, supports university studies and certificate programs for local students and staff, conducts collaborative educational and training programmes for secondary school Conservation Club students, and has just recently initiated a scholarship program with the Southern African Wildlife College. 

They also provide practical on-the-job training for staff and ZAWA with skills ranging from field research techniques to computer literacy to automobile mechanics.

How to help

ZCP accepts donations either directly in Zambia or through a non-profit funding agency in the United States. 

Donations can be made for the general operation costs of ZCP or for specific aspects of our research, education, and/or conservation programmes. Additionally, ZCP maintains a “Wish List” for research equipment that would greatly facilitate our fieldwork. 

They will happily send this list to interested donors who may prefer to donate equipment. 

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Picture: ZCP