Photo courtesy of Daan Smit

About The Programme


The Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) is a Zambian-registered non-profit organization dedicated to conserving large carnivores and the ecosystems they reside in through a combination of conservation science, conservation actions, and a comprehensive education and capacity-building effort.  We work in close collaboration with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to accomplish the following goals:

  1. To safeguard large carnivores, their prey and habitat through research, conservation and education 
  2. To utilize large carnivores and their prey as flagship species for large landscape conservation

  3. To provide information and recommendations to the DNPW and support efforts to conserve wildlife and ecosystems
  4. To increase knowledge and understanding of large carnivore and large herbivore dynamics and interrelationships and contribute to conservation of these species as a whole
  5. To build capacity with Zambian organizations and governmental agencies for conservation of large carnivores and herbivores, their ecological functions and habitats.

The Zambian Carnivore Programme follows a three-pronged interdisciplinary approach to fulfill its goals, and the success of this work fundamentally rests on our diverse and effective collaborations with local, national and international partners, agencies, organizations and institutions that collectively provide the expertise, resources and energy to address the myriad conservation challenges facing Zambia and the region.



The history of the Zambian Carnivore Programme stems from work initiated by Dr. Kellie Leigh. The organisation was first registered as a not-for-profit in 1998, under the name African Wild Dog Conservation (AWDC). As part of the organisation’s activities Kellie undertook her Ph.D. on African wild dogs at the University of Sydney, Australia, focussed on the Lower Zambezi National Park. Her research utilised the African wild dog as a flagship species for protected area conservation and included studies of competing predators, prey species, habitats and anthropogenic impacts. She later expanded the organisation’s activities into the Luangwa valley in 2005 with funding from WWF-Netherlands, before handing over carriage of the project in mid-2007, but remaining as a board member until 2009.  In mid-2008 Dr. Matthew Becker was appointed CEO and Programme Manager of the organization, and in mid-2009 AWDC was granted permission from the Zambia Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW, then Zambia Wildlife Authority) to expand into intensive studies on multiple large carnivore species and their prey. In 2010 it officially became the Zambian Carnivore Programme, and continued the expansion, implementing multi-species projects in Liuwa and Greater Kafue in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  In collaboration with the DNPW and an array of partners, ZCP now works across Zambia in most of the country’s key ecosystems for large carnivores and their prey.