Environment & Wildlife
Chiawa’s main priority is to protect the biodiversity, which means to provide the wildlife in Lower Zambezi with a safe refuge. When Chiawa, which was the first safari camp ever awarded tourism rights in the LZNP, opened in 1989 the Lower Zambezi National Park had no road access and no parks personnel in the area. Opening trails into the park and bringing in personnel to accompany them heralded the first conservation activity seen in the area in decades. Bush meat, rhino, elephant poaching was in full force and it took the best part of a decade to make significant victories against the poaching. Since then, the owners have become personally engaged in intelligence gathering and strategy planning of law enforcement activity in the LZ. They constantly lobby all levels of government and private sector for improved Lower Zambezi conservation measures and more sustainable uses for the LZ.
They are thus involved in many activities, which include:
- In February 2009 Chiawa Camp established and implemented the Lower Zambezi Conservation Collection in order to raise additional funding towards environmental education and conservation activity through Conservation Lower Zambezi.
- Support to the Africa Wild Dog Conservation program which was based for one year at Old Mondoro, whilst Dr Kellie Leigh was monitoring the endangered Wild Dog population. Chiawa still assists AWDC, now Zambia Carnivore Program, where and when it can by sending them reports on all wild dog sightings and large carnivore information for the LZNP.
- Chiawa Camp provided strategy, funding and logistical support for a Cheetah repopulation program (1994) through Zambia Wildlife Authority and Cheetah Conservation Fund of Namibia with the support of Japan Aid.
- Chiawa Camp conducted a tagging and monitoring program of tiger fish in the LZNP to establish movements and feeding habits (1994).
- One of Chiawa Camp’s noteworthy conservation successes is that it was the first operator to practice catch & release sport angling and subsequently successfully lobbied government to impose a ban on the killing of any fish species in the LZNP. This ban remains in place, and Chiawa Camp is now lobbying for this ban to be extended to Zambia’s other National Parks, and for better control on fishing and boating within the LZNP.
- The goal of conserving the wildlife and the local ecosystem has been promoted, and to a great extent achieved, by the charity Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) in which Chiawa's owners are active executive & board members. They annually commit 100's of man-hours of their personal time and resources in support of the conservation activities of CLZ.
- Whilst Grant was Chairman of CLZ, he proposed that, additional to its logistical support to Anti-Poaching activity, CLZ embark on its now renowned and much applauded Environmental Education Program. What’s more, he raised funds through the Royal Danish Embassy to implement it, as well as build its impressive centre on the banks of the Zambezi River. CLZ is now used as a role model for other similar conservation organizations elsewhere in Africa.
- A large portion of Chiawa Camp’s revenue and resources are reinvested into protecting the Lower Zambezi, and the Chiawa Camp annually raises and provides approximately $50,000 on behalf of Conservation Lower Zambezi’s activities.