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Friday, 19 October 2018 05:20

Malawi striving to combat illegal wildlife trade

Written by  Tione Andsen
British High Commissioner Holly Tett (speaking) and Natural Resources Minister Aggrey Masi (2nd left) flanked by Game Rangers addresses the press - Pic by Chikondi Chimala British High Commissioner Holly Tett (speaking) and Natural Resources Minister Aggrey Masi (2nd left) flanked by Game Rangers addresses the press - Pic by Chikondi Chimala

Lilongwe, October 18, 2018: Government has said it has made positive strives to combat illegal wildlife trade in order to protect the endangered species.

Minister of Mining and Natural Resources, Aggrey Masi made this Thursday in Lilongwe during Media briefing on the just ended London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade which was held on October 11-12, 2018.

He said government has put in place number of initiatives to ensure that illegal wildlife trade is discouraged at all levels.

Masi pointed out that the country has progressed o n the closure of domestic markets and laundering of illegal proceeds.

“Community partnership with wildlife reserves is one of the key approach which empowers them to feel that they have a role to play in protecting wild animals within their areas as a result reduces cases of poaching which put endangered  wild animals at risk,” he noted.

The Minister said the transport sector have been involved to prevent trafficking of wildlife products locally and internationally.

“As you are aware, the traffickers use different types of transport to move contraband from one place to another,” Masi added.

He pointed out that the London meeting; countries committed themselves to take serious measures to curb organized crime in illegal wildlife trade.

The Minister noted that Elephants Protection Initiative (EPI) held a consultative group meeting which viewed that EPI offers the best African owned approach to protecting African elephants.

He said EPI member states presented National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs)) from seven countries like Chad, Gabon , Ethiopia, Angola, Malawi Uganda and Kenya require an estimated US$ 268 million in the next three years.

“Major donor institutions stressed their support for the EPI objectives. Over 19 member states have joined and continue to fulfill their commitments under EPI including closing domestic markets by putting ivory beyond economic use and developing National Action Plans,” Masi pointed out.

He explained that it was noted that major challenge is that EPI is not fully implemented because NEAPs have not been fully funded.

Masi disclosed that Malawi has a total funding gap of US$ 3,301,265 against the total seven NEAPS of US$112,949,759.

British High Commissioner to Malawi, Holy Tetty said it was important to work with financial sector in order to identity actions to detect and stop illegal wildlife trade and intercept the financial gains driving it.

“We need to jealousy guard the malpractice and illegal wildlife trade has proven to be lucrative among traffickers involved in the syndicates,” she said.

Tete  pledged continued to provide technical and financial support to the country to protecting wildlife in  form of capacity building initiatives and encouraging partnership with communities within wildlife reserves.

She observed that community awareness remains the major weapon to ensure that communities are complimenting government efforts to combat illegal trafficking of wildlife products.

Head of Law Enforcement at Majete Wildlife Reserve, Martin Awazi commended the restocking process of Majete which started in 2003 through African parks has made positive impacts to protect endangered species in the country.

He said community partnerships have positive contributed to reduce poaching of wildlife since they have seen the benefits of preserving the animals within their societies.

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