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Sunday, 19 August 2018 15:59

Govt enhances co-management policy to curb poaching

Written by  Easter Khunga
Elephants like these ones in Liwonde National Park are targeted by poachers - File Photo Elephants like these ones in Liwonde National Park are targeted by poachers - File Photo

Mzuzu, August 16, 2018: Department of National Parks and Wildlife says it has embarked on activities geared at enhancing co-management of national parks and game reserves to curb poaching.

Speaking Thursday in an interview with Malawi News Agency, the department’s Northern Region Division Manager, Peter Wadi said the activities include civic educating communities living around Vwaza Game Reserve and Nyika National Park on the vice of poaching.

“We have Education and Extension Section whose role is to conduct civic education on the vice of poaching and encourage people to take care of natural resources,” said Wadi.

He also said the sector advises communities living around the protected areas on the dangers of going into the game parks without permission.

“Most of the communities living around these protected areas depend on animal hunting and the sector is also there to discuss with the communities on alternative sources of livelihoods,” he said.

He said the department introduced Co-management Policy to make sure that the communities have ownership spirit over game the parks. This, Wadi said has led to the establishment of a community based Nyika-Vwaza Association.

“This association serves as a link between the management of these two protected areas and through an agreement between the two parties, we give 25 per cent of money released to communities through the association,” he said.

With this arrangement, Wadi said the department has registered a decrease in poaching cases and the use of fire arms for the same, saying 27 and 10 people have been arrested for poaching in Nyika National Park and Vwaza Game Reserve respectively since January 2018.

“We attribute this achievement to the co-management approach,” said Wadi.

In an interview with chairperson for Nyika-Vwaza Association, Duncan Chiza Mkandawire, said sharing of resources realized from the protected areas is a motivation factor for communities to participate in protecting the areas.

 Mkandawire then appealed to government to continue honouring the agreement, otherwise community members might start going into the game parks again for hunting.

“The money which is ploughed back to communities is used for community development projects whilst some is spent on wildlife awareness meetings,” said Mkandawire.

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