Elephant population triples at Kasungu National Park
By Theresa Chapulapula:
The elephant population in Malawi’s Kasungu National Park has increased from 40 in 2014 to 121 in 2020, a recent survey has revealed.
The increase follows initiatives which the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is implementing using funds from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw).
DNPW Director Brighton Kumchedwa has described results of the aerial survey as a positive sign that things are changing for the better.
“We, as a department, are happy with the results of the aerial survey. Although an improvement, this is still low compared to the historical high of 1,000 reported in 1970. Rampant poaching has decimated the number of elephants in the region and we are thankful to see this recent increase,” he said.
Apart from elephants, other species that have registered a significant increase include the buffalo, roan antelope, sable antelope, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest, greater kudu, puku and warthog.
Kumchedwa has attributed the increase of wildlife in Kasungu National Park to improved security.
“We, as a department, are working with partners, including the International Fund for Animal Welfare to deal with the problem of poaching. The strategies being used to combat wildlife crime are bearing fruit. In future, this should lead to an increase in both local, regional and international tourists’ traffic,” he said.
Ifaw, with support from the United States Agency for International Development, is implementing a five-year project aimed at combating wildlife crime in the Malawi-Zambia transboundary landscape.
Ifaw Malawi-Zambia Transboundary Landscape Project Chief of Party Patricio Ndadzela said in an interview that the project uses four strategies to combat poaching in the landscape.
“The strategies we use are community engagement, law enforcement and cross-border cooperation, coordination, and information-sharing,” Ndadzela said.
He said the fourth strategy is bolstering prosecutorial and judicial capacity to effectively investigate, prosecute and convict wildlife criminals.
The aerial survey was conducted in October last year with the aim of providing baseline information on the populations of key wildlife species in Kasungu National Park.
Ifaw Malawi-Zambia Trans-frontier Landscape Project targets Luambe National Park and Lukusuzi National Park in Zambia and Malawi’s Kasungu National Park.
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