Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) has advised the public to refrain from participating in any wildlife crime like trafficking specimen of endangered species without a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permit.
CITES is a multilateral treaty that protects endangered plants and animals.
In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Director for DNPW, Brighton Kumchedwa said it is the duty of everyone to protect the country’s natural heritage.
“It is the responsibility of every Malawian to take part in the conservation of wildlife in the country. As such, we should not participate in any wildlife crimes, for instance, exporting or importing specimen of endangered animals without a CITES permit,” Kumchedwa said.
He added that “we have to guard our God given natural heritage for the benefit of the country and report any wildlife criminal to DNPW.”
He said people have neglected to observe the law that National Wildlife Act and CITES provide by continuously trafficking specimen of endangered species and this has landed many in stiff punishments.
Recently, the Lilongwe Chief Resident Magistrate Court convicted a Belgium national by the name of Gunther Andreas De Bruyne, 27, for possessing and attempting to export specimen of endangered species.
Confirming the case, Kumchedwa said “De Bruyne was fined 1, 500, 000 Malawi Kwacha for possessing and attempting to export the skulls of Zebra, Warthog and Impala to Belgium. He would not have been answerable to the charges if he had ownership, CITES export and import permits that would give him the authority to possess and trade the skulls.”
Kumchedwa said the law also applies to all people that illegally make products, such as armlets, from specimen of endangered animals.
DNPW has since advised interested people in wildlife trade to obtain CITES permits from the CITES Management Authority in the Department so as to avoid punishments.
CITES entered into force in 1975. Malawi is a signatory to CITES treaty since 1982.