MALAWI NATIONAL TRAINING
The country of Malawi ‘The Warm Heart of Africa”is in the middle of the elephant’s natural range. Malawi is a long thin landlocked country, which is graced with Africa’s third largest lake – Lake Malawi. This massive lake stretches 579km (360 miles) down the eastern side of the country. In partnership with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Chengeta Wildlife has and will be providing advanced anti-poaching training to rangers in numerous of Malawi’s National Parks and protected areas.
In the last years. we have trained in 5 national parks (Nkhotakota, Nyika, Vwaza, Liwonde and Kasungu) with Nyika and Vwaza being transfrontier parks with Zambia
This involved training Zambian DNPW, and coordination with both Malawian and Zambian police for hot pursuit operations across borders.
Each park has senior rangers from a variety of parks of 50 rangers each training session. These rangers then go back to their respective areas and train their teams up with the new methods.
Each session sees a return of the same rangers so that each ranger has worked in two different areas, learns how to tweak methods depending on the different circumstances encountered.
The best rangers who are natural trainers are selected as assistant trainers for Chengeta so that after we leave they will be able to carry on with ‘in house’ training.
MALAWI AND THE WILDLIFE THERE
Malawi is blessed with a rich diversity of flora and fauna and has no less than nine National Parks or Wildlife Reserves. Elephants, lions, leopards, African buffaloes, hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses are present in the country but their numbers are low except in national parks and game reserves. More numerous are jackals and spotted hyenas, African wildcats, caracal and serval.
THE MAIN ILLEGAL POACHING ACTIVITIES
Malawi was recently confirmed as Southern Africa’s principal transit hub for illegal wildlife products – a key link in a chain of poaching, trafficking and demand
that is threatening some of Africa’s most iconic species with extinction. Some of the world’s biggest ivory seizures have been linked back to Malawi, which is positioned centrally in a regional poaching hotspot and, up until recently, organised criminal syndicates could operate with relative impunity within the country’s borders.
There are those poachers that are just trying to survive – however the snares they set down are also responsible for killing indiscriminately – often left behind as unwanted meat. This includes lions, who are particularly susceptible to snares and die an agonising death. If they do manage to break the snare, in their weakened state they will attack humans as their only source of prey which again will lead to the lion being shot to protect the villagers. Bush meat poachers can include any from those trying to eke out a living, those that are just trying to survive and feed their families and then those criminals who start a thriving bush meat business.
Then there are the trophy poachers. By stopping the bush meat poaching it is now easier to pinpoint the main operators who are deriving significant income off killing off high value animals.
These include Elephant, rhino. lion (bones, skins and fat), leopard, pangolin and most recently hippo (teeth).
CHENGETA TEAM’S ROLE ON THE GROUND
Chengeta’s role on the ground is to train rangers from top to bottom. Creating a doctrine which can be used to train men in different parks so there is uniformity in standard operating procedures.
A normal training operation lasts for one month. This is broken into two parts.
The first two weeks are theory and practicals in a training environment.
The second fortnight is actual live operations where the trainers will train and mentor the rangers. This means the doctrine is implemented correctly in the field and once the new improved results start coming in the rangers are more likely to follow this method.