Dazzle Africa supports Conservation South Luangwa’s (CSL) work to safeguard the wildlife and habitat across the 1.4 million hectares of protected area that make up the South Luangwa Valley. Get to know more about CSL’s incredible K9 unit and how you can support their work!

Photo credit above: Marcus Westberg

Critical to stopping wildlife trafficking is preventing acquisition of wildlife parts sourced from protected area networks. Consequently, effective, well-directed, and well-equipped anti- poaching patrols are essential for wildlife protection. Acting as both a deterrent and as a response unit for emergency intelligence reports, anti-poaching patrolling remains one of the key requirements in combating wildlife trafficking in any wildlife stronghold. 

The first of its kind in Zambia, the K9 Unit now represents one of CSL’s most effective and efficient anti-poaching units. The team is currently made up of 5 working dogs with 9 highly trained specialist handlers. All of the dogs are donated rescue dogs who were screened from thousands of dogs and highly trained by long-term US-based partners, Working Dogs for Conservation (WD4C), prior to deployment to Mfuwe, with ongoing annual training.

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Photo credit above: Edward Selfe

The K9 dogs and handlers are trained to conduct roadblock searches of vehicles, use intelligence to conduct village/building searches and border and airport searches, and track suspects in the field. The primary items the dogs are trained to detect are ivory, firearms, ammunition, pangolin scales, leopard skins, mukula wood and various species of bushmeat. 

In 2023, the K9 Unit conducted a total of 154 operations, searching 6,220 motor vehicles, 4,133 bicycles and 4,012 motorbikes during 98 roadblocks and 15 checkpoints, as well as 25 intelligence-led property searches. Successful operations resulted in the arrest of 47 wildlife crime suspects and the confiscation of 52 firearms. The unit also seized 164 kgs of illegal bushmeat, 46 kg of ivory and various other animals and animal parts, including one leopard and five grysbok skins. These results represented 24% of arrests, 59% of bushmeat confiscations and 29% of illegal firearms seizures made by all CSL-supported anti-poaching patrols throughout the year, clearly demonstrating the extraordinary value the K9 team bring to hands-on wildlife conservation and law enforcement in the Luangwa Valley. 

Dazzle donors supported salary sponsorships for K9 handlers starting during the  COVID-19 pandemic, helping the unit conduct its vital work. As CSL celebrates the 10th anniversary of the unit, we can help them fight poaching, provide exemplary care for their animals, and employ a talented staff. Dazzle Africa looks forward to continuing to support this amazing team. 

To be a part of the K9 unit’s success, donate here today and specify that you want to support CSL’s K9 unit in the donation notes. 

In celebration of the unit’s 10th anniversary, sponsors will receive the following benefits:

K9 Patron – $500/year

  • An opportunity to meet the K9 team in person during a trip to South Luangwa
  • Special Dazzling bonus – Access to monthly Dazzle supporter webinars
  • All perks listed below

K9 Protector – $200/year

  • An annual virtual tour of the kennels
  • All perks listed below

K9 Partner – $100/year

  • A certificate, photograph and bio sheet of your chosen dog
  • Quarterly email updates from the K9 Unit with behind-the-scenes content
  • Recognition in CSL’s Annual Report