Niassa’s first and largest concession is the Luwire Wildlife Conservancy (www.luwire.org) at 4,550 km² ‒ almost three times the size of Greater London or six times the size of New York City. It includes 300km of Lugenda River frontage. This vast area is currently monitored by sixty anti-poaching rangers drawn from the local villages. Serious threats include elephant and lion poaching, the bush meat trade, human wildlife-conflict, illegal forestry and artisanal mining. Luwire seeks to address these threats in multiple ways:
1. by increasing ranger numbers to 100 and investing in regular training;
2. by coordinating closely with neighbouring conservancies;
3. by building a larger intelligence network;
4. by deploying cutting edge technology.
Down the road, Luwire hopes to reintroduce Black Rhino. This will require a further step up in security resources.
Luwire must maintain a high level of vigilance and constant state of readiness across seasons and through periods of reduced and increased threats. It is therefore critical that the funding for security operations is not subject to the economic cyclicality or seasonality of Luwire’s tourist businesses or donor funding. Simply put, Luwire’s security must be funded on a term basis. The Luwire Club is designed to provide that sustainable funding.
Luwire Club members provide committed three-year funding to Luwire’s security effort. This funding is 100% ring-fenced for security operations. It is used solely to support Luwire’s growing team of anti-poaching troops via payment for salaries, transportation, food and supplies. Separate one-off donations are used to cover capital expenditure programme on security (scout housing, technology investments, etc.) Within three years, Luwire hopes to have built a team of 100 anti-poaching troops with best-in-class equipment, facilities and technology that allow for the enhanced security needed to reintroduce the Black Rhino. Luwire Club members commit to cover the all-in cost of a single anti-poaching troop annually for at least three years. This amounts to a $5,000 per year commitment. Donations are tax deductible in the UK and US.