Liuwa Plain in western Zambia has one of the oldest conservation histories in Africa, dating back to the late 19th century when the King of Barotseland, Lubosi Lewanika, appointed his people as the custodians of the reserve. The result is a unique ecosystem where people and wildlife live together, and where the priority is to sustainably manage these natural resources, to make this coexistence mutually beneficial for all.
Each year, this 3,660 km² expanse bears witness to one of nature’s greatest spectacles – the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa. This was not always the case however; prior to African Parks involvement wildebeest and zebra populations were in steep decline, a consequence of excessive poaching. Rural settlements within the park present a serious challenge, as woodlands are being destroyed to create space for rice fields.
African Parks assumed management of the park in 2003 and immediately established effective law enforcement operations to keep both the communities and wildlife safe. It is only through engaging with local communities and establishing projects to improve their livelihoods that Liuwa can flourish.