Date Published: 3 March 2015
Malawi increases actions to protect elephants
Malawi has finished its national ivory inventory and reiterated its intention to destroy the ivory stockpile as part of an ongoing programme to protect elephants and stop the illegal ivory trade. This undertaking coincides with Minister Hon. Kondwani Nankhumwa's announcement of the development of Malawi's 10 year National Elephant Action Plan.
Several organizations from across the world are supporting the effort to protect Malawi's elephant population. This is especially important because the elephant populations in some of Malawi's park areas have halved during the last 10 years. The actions being taken or supported by groups such as the UK charities the RSPCA and 'Stop Ivory' and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Malawi include:
- Training park rangers in monitoring and protection
- Working with police and prosecutors to ensure all poachers and wildlife traffickers are investigated and prosecuted
- Working with local communities to address human elephant conflict and develop sustainable livelihoods
" The ivory trade is driving the killing of our elephants. Armed criminal gangs pose a real and immediate threat to our rangers and the communities that live near protected areas," reported Brighton Kumchedwa, Director of Malawi's National Parks and Wildlife.
" Malawi values its elephants, which are the bedrock of sustainable development through tourism."
This work is also being supported by one of the 14 grants from the UK government's Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund. This will help with the important task of combating wildlife crime in Malawi.
The RSPCA has worked in Malawi for seven years and in 2014 partnered with the government wildlife department to establish the Inter-Agency Committee on Combating Wildlife Crime. This multi agency task force is now leading the way in ensuring that all law enforcement agencies in Malawi are collaborating to stop wildlife crime.
" These actions demonstrate Malawi's commitment to tackling illegal wildlife crime and the value it places on its elephants" stated Alexander Rhodes, Chief Executive of UK charity Stop Ivory.
" Malawi has long been a soft target for ivory traffickers. Tightening controls and the destruction of ivory stocks sends a zero tolerance message following Malawi's seizure of 2 tonnes of ivory in 2013, for which two men stand trial later this month. Stop Ivory is delighted to be working with RSPCA to provide financial and technical support to Malawi, including for the development of its National Elephant Action Plan in line with the Elephant Protection Initiative".
This news is released on World Wildlife Day, 3 March 2015 www.wildlifeday.org, when many wildlife and conservation groups are highlighting the value of wildlife to humanity and the need to protect and care for the many diverse creatures that share this planet with us.
Source: RSPCA (UK Animal Charity)