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Sunday, 22 April 2018 12:33

Technology vital in surveillance of protected areas

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Lilongwe, April 20, 2018: Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Masi has emphasised on the need to adopt technologies such as the use of drones in the surveillance of protected areas.

He made the remarks in Lilongwe on Friday during a joint commemoration of the 2018 World Wildlife Day and World Wetlands Day at Chigoneka Community Day Secondary School.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Shi Ting Wang donated two high pack drones to Malawi government to help in the fight against wildlife crime.

Masi received the donation on behalf of Malawi government.

The Minister said he appreciates the donation saying it has come at a right time when the country is facing challenges in fighting wildlife crimes.

“The donation is timely and it couldn’t come at a better time than this. For this reason, we need to use technology if we are to effectively win the fight against wildlife,” he said.

The Minister made a commitment to protecting wildlife and preserving wetlands for the benefit of all.
The two events were held under the themes ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban future’ and ‘Protecting Bi cats to Have the Big Five.’

Masi said the themes are befitting for Malawi saying wetlands and wildlife have economic value for Malawi through attracting tourists and agricultural production among other things.

He said the social economic value of wildlife is immeasurable hence the need to protect them.

Despite the economic value, the minister advised communities to desist from building in wetlands due to the fragile nature of such places.

“We are reminded that wetlands are fragile areas that easily get degraded. Last year some places in Lilongwe City were subjected to flooding due to encroachment of wetlands,” he said.

Masi observed that the country is facing challenges in wildlife and environment conservation hence the donation.

He said the world is a global village hence the need for countries to work together and adopt technologies that are widely used by other countries.

The Minister said it is for this reason that his government has made the donation which he said will be used in the fight against wildlife crime.

“The drones will go a long way in assisting Malawi protect wildlife and environment through aerial surveillance,” he said.

World Wetlands Day and World Wildlife Day are commemorated on February 2 and March 3, respectively.

Malawi commemorated the events on Friday because of other commitments while   March 3 is designated in the country’s Martyrs day.

On December 20, 2013 at its 68th session the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed March 3, as the UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the World’s Wild Animals and Plants.

On the other hand, World Wetlands Day was adopted in 1971 to raise awareness about the value of wetlands for humanity and planet.

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