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Ecosystem Protection

COMACO: A Promise Kept. Ecosystem Protection that Preserves Wildlife and Watersheds for Generations to Come!


Assessing the success of an ecosystem protection program is a difficult task. COMACO measures its success using tangible indicators, including:

  • Poacher transformation numbers
  • Snares and guns removed
  • Watershed projects
  • Land use plans


Coming Soon: An audio-visual report on poaching!

POACHER NUMBERS: Each year, COMACO recruits problem poachers – identified by villages and by fellow, transformed poacher groups.

Since poacher recruitment began in 2001, a total of 661 poachers have been removed from active hunting in the Luangwa Valley. With each poacher averaging 50-60 animals per year, COMACO estimates that tens of thousands of animals are being saved each year!


Total number of poachers removed from Luangwa Valley, transformed by COMACO


ZAWA arrests for poaching are also in rapid decline. The cost-effectiveness of COMACO poacher transformation means huge savings for Zambia – as the average cost of arrest and prosecution of a single poacher averages between $2500-$3000, while poacher transformation costs an average of $700/poacher transformed!

“Mostly I liked hunting elephants, leopards, and lions. I learned to hunt from my family. I sold to buyers - all illegal. These things are not sold as you sell groundnuts. For a leopard skin we would get maybe four blankets, or exchange it for some clothes. We were not profiting.

Now we have a garden. Before, our garden was the bush! Now we have enough so that we can sell something and have some money, unlike in the past days of poaching when we gained nothing.

In the past, a young boy of 14, if he killed a buffalo, people gave a lot of respect to that one. But it was not easier then. Those things you must sell at a cheap price because you can always be caught. With a table, I can sell it [openly] to any person who wants it. Now I work with people in the open.

Before, our parents told us, "hey, bring that knife," and in that way we were trained to hunt. Now I tell my children, "bring that saw." My sons will be carpenters, and life will be better for them.



Coming Soon: "COMACO Voices"


Over 50,000 snares and close to 1800 guns have also been surrendered through the COMACO program, making the Valley safer for everyone!


Coming Soon: A report on the recovery of guns and snares



Game meat sold: Because the selling of game meat is already illegal, tracking it’s sales is inherently difficult to do. Residents of Lundazi – a community with a COMACO CTC and many participating members, report seeing game meat sold less often than residents of Nyimba – a town without a CTC. Both towns are in the GMA near South Luangwa National Park.