The Government, through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), has registered remarkable progress in the fight against wildlife crime following a record of reduced cases, such as ivory confiscations, in 2018.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Monday, an officer from the Wildlife Crime Investigations Unit (WCIU), Miles Zidana, said there have been reduced numbers of wildlife crimes in 2018 especially in ivory confiscations.
“In 2016, WCIU recorded 638 ivory confiscations whilst 408 seizures were made in 2017. In 2018, 324 cases of ivory confiscations were recorded. The decrease in ivory confiscations shows that the government is doing well in combating wildlife crime as less cases of such are happening in the country,” said Zidana.
Zidana said the progress is due to multiple approaches including development of National Elephant Action Plan, mobilisation of international donor support, review of penalties in National Parks & Wildlife Act, raising awareness campaigns, and deployment of DNPW officers in entry and exit points.
Commenting on the same, Director of DNPW, Brighton Kumchedwa praised private partners for rendering support saying they would not have achieved this on their own.
“The progress in combating wildlife crime, in this case ivory, has been achieved thanks to the support that partners like Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and African Parks have been rendering tirelessly,” said Kumchedwa.
Last week, Lilongwe Wildlife Trust organised and funded a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) training on combating wildlife crime for Malawi Revenue Authority, Immigration, and Malawi Police Service officials.
“The training aimed at equipping officials from the targeted government departments with detection skills in identifying and investigating specimen of endangered species at border areas and airports,” concluded Kumchedwa.
Kumchedwa further called on other relevant stakeholders to co-operate in order to attain zero wildlife crime in the country.