Tuesday 7 October 2014

Malawi to tackle long term increases in poaching

Lilongwe — Weak wildlife legislation and lower fines imposed on poachers, have been blamed as being a major factor for the increase of illegal ivory and other wildlife poaching within the country.

Director for National Parks and Wildlife in the Ministry of Information and Tourism, Brighton Kumchedwa said this in an interview on the sidelines of the celebration of World Animal Day which falls on 2nd of October.

"The highest penalty that has been given to the culprits so far is K1 million which is not enough. And the inconsistencies in giving out theses penalties by the Magistrates is another drawback as well, some are imposing a lower fine and other a bigger one," he said.

According to available figures, the national population of elephants is down to 2000 from 4000 ten years ago. In Kasungu alone, the country had 2000 elephants in the late 1980's but there are now only 150 remaining.

Most of the Ivory is destined for the illegal markets in China.

Mr Kumchedwa further stated that "We have also come up with a team of security agents of the government that includes Police, MDF, immigration, ACB and so many others. We have been working as a team from April this year and this has improved the situation as wildlife cases are being handled in courts. That is a result of efforts that government is putting in by pulling together all stakeholders who matter in as far conservation of wildlife is concerned".

The government has also engaged the private sector in the conservation of wildlife as it plans to concession out Liwonde National Park and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve just like it did with Majete Game Reserve to African Parks.

Good - they are doing a fantastic job in difficult areas such as Garamba in Dr Congo and Zakouma in Chad.

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