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.