Hope you are doing well today. I am doing fine, as I am writing with a coffee along the Luangwa river in Zambia – in my lodge close to the South Luangwa National Park. In the river, both hippo’s and crocodiles are taking a bath. The wind is softly blowing and other than that it is purely calm. I love this calmness of nature. Isn’t this world a wonderful place, if you thoroughly look around?
Life of the wild
I enjoy nature as much as I can on a daily basis and during my trip to the South Luangwa National Park I’ve seen incredible wildlife. In this National Park, you are able to find the most diverse wildlife living together. I can assure you: It’s mind-blowing! I am so thankful to see all these beautiful creatures living here wild and free. I want my future children and grandchildren to be able to see it as well and experience this beautiful nature the way I do. In order to pass the astonishing wildlife on to our next generations, we need to conserve wildlife in any possible way.
In this blog I like to tell you more about the South Luangwa National Park and the importance of conservation of wildlife. An organization I teamed up with – Comaco – is showing the perfect example of how wildlife conservation should be. Because a sustainable solution is needed to keep nature in its’ current state.
The Comaco organization – Conserving Wildlife
The Comaco organization ( community markets for conservation) has been working in wildlife conservation for over 15 years now and develops a special and revolutionary system to sustainably conserve wildlife whilst developing the communities in the South Luangwa area. Their aim is to stop poaching. How they do that? By serving the poachers a sustainable alternative. Because the reason most people poach, is financially. They need to feed their families and Ivory makes good money for a while.
The Comaco organization creates a consistent income and a sustainable agriculture for over 180.000 farmers around the South Luangwa river. By signing the contract, as a local farmer you agree to stop poaching and you receive a secured stable income, a fair price for the products and training & education 3 times a week to become better in farming.
Next to ordering and selling the products, Comaco offers sustainable solutions for agricultural issues the farmers are facing. Like creating briquettes (fire starters) from natural materials, avoiding pesticides by learning them about the power of different plants in the area creating natural fertilizers. And they teach them to create chili-bull-its to keep elephants away from their land. Elephants seem to hate the smell of chili, so the bull-its are just shot in air every now and then to keep them away. This has a positive affect on the elephant population. Comaco has also recently been able to supply solar-powered radio’s to the communities in every area to keep updated about new learnings in conservation farming and health.
Stimulating conservation farming has another huge side-effect as it creates food security for the rural communities. The farmers always sell what they can miss, but the community will definitely benefit from the availability of food. To optimize a diverse diet, The Comaco organization stimulates crop rotation – changing your main product from corn, to soy beans, to vegetables every now and then. Comaco also stimulates families to have one or two goats to optimize a diverse diet.
Find out more about all the work Comaco is doing in different fields on their website
The products – It’s Wild
The Comaco organization buys products from local farmers and sells them in Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, South-Africa and the US with their private label called ‘It’s Wild.’ All products are organic and wildlife friendly. Their main products are rice (white & brown), beans, dried mango (healthy candy), honey, corn (creating the nutritional Yummy Soy products) and grown- and whole nuts which are sold as peanut butter or as a snack. They recently started developing some interesting new products, such as dried mushrooms and a superfood called Maringa. The products are locally produced and packaged in Chipata – Zambia and I found them in the Shoprite and Spar supermarkets in Zambia.
At the moment the Comaco organization is working hard to invest in knowledge and development, to be able to be self-sustainable in five years from now. At the moment they still demand donations to make the system a sustainable. To make this model work, it’s all about building trust. Working with the farmers together and not against them. In the beginning, the organization faced difficulties to earn trust from poachers to change their lifestyle completely.
They work closely with the traditional chiefs of the rural communities to connect more and more local farmers to their organization.
So in the near future, this model will become the model the world will look up too.
South Luangwa National Park
The South Luangwa National park lays in the middle Zambia and is 9.050 km2. The park lays along the Luangwa river and there is also a Northern part of the National Park. The Northern part is a little less accessible, but has a tremendous and pure wildlife due to the little amount of humanity.
South Luangwa is home to the Big Five and maaaaany more animals:
During my two days stay in South Luangwa I’ve seen elephants, hippos, giraffes, antelopes, lions, leopards, buffaloes, hyenas, crocodiles, wild dogs, zebras, baboons and many extraordinary bird species such as the fish eagle. It’s incredible what you can see here and I hope you all get a chance to experience it yourself someday. It’s so beautiful, words can barely describe.
What will we do to help
In order to support the Comaco organization in their way to sustainability and a more and more conserved wildlife, we will make a donation. Therefore, the Instagram post of Comaco is a fund-raising post. All you have to do is like. And each ‘like’ is converted into a donation. Quick. Easy, Valuable and effective.
Thank you guys for your help and let’s keep the world’s wildlife WILD!
All photography made by me personally in the South Luangwa National Park, using the Nikon D3100 and a 70-300 lens I rent here.