Across Africa the scourge that is poaching is removing natural resources at an unprecedented rate. The southern African nation of Malawi is no exception to the hugely negative impacts of poaching on biodiversity and the natural ecosystem processes that sustain both people and wildlife.
Starting at the end of August the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) and Chengeta Wildlife, supported by the UK’s Coventry University, partnered with Malawi’s Department of National Parks & Wildlife (DNPW) provided 20 days of anti-poaching training to senior staff working in Malawi’s national parks and wildlife reserves. The training was held at DNPW’s training centre in Liwonde National Park, located south of Lake Malawi.
Rory Young of Bannon-Tighe Global Assessment Group, a professional tracker with 25 years’ experience, and co-author of “A Field Manual for Anti-Poaching Activities” commented that the rangers were “By far the best I have worked with in terms of character and attitude.” Rangers received training in all aspects of the most comprehensive, intelligent and pragmatic doctrine ever devised to bring the practice of poaching under control.
The programme is already proving successful as anti-poaching operations undertaken as part of the training uncovered several poaching syndicates operating in the area, some with links to neighboring Mozambique and as far away as China, highlighting the global scale of the poaching problem. Arrests were made and the culprits handed over to the appropriate authorities.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Kondwani Nankhumwa presided over the passing out parade, celebrating the end of the training. Affirming the Government’s commitment to enforcing all laws governing the operations of national parks and wildlife reserves, he said “Our rangers need to be equipped with necessary skills to face the poachers”.
Following the training ALERT and Chengeta Wildlife have provided a report, authored by Rory Young, to DNPW with a variety of recommendations to increase the Department’s effectiveness in tackling poaching, ensuring that the training undertaken is utilized, and preparing for further training in the country to support this initial work.
ALERT and Chengeta Wildlife are seeking financial support to continue and expand this programme both within Malawi and to other African nations that need to bring poaching under control.