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Fighting wildlife crime with help from communities

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Government is encouraging community partnerships with wildlife reserves as one way of curbing wildlife crime, Minister of Mining and Natural Resources, Aggrey Massi said this week

The minister said the partnerships with communities are one of the key approaches government is using because it empowers the communities to help protect wild animals within their areas “as a result reduce cases of poaching.”

Massi made the comments at a Media briefing after returning from London where he attended a conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade.

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“As you are aware, the traffickers use different types of transport to move contraband from one place to another and to combat that, we are also involving the transport sector to curb that,” Massi added.

Massi said Elephants Protection Initiative (EPI) held a consultative group meeting which viewed that EPI offers the best African owned approach to protecting African elephants.

At the conference, Massi said, seven African countries presented National Elephant Action Plans (NEAPs)).

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According to Massi, the conference learnt that the seven countries Chad, Gabon, Ethiopia, Angola, Malawi Uganda and Kenya, require an estimated US$268 million in the next three years.

“Major donor institutions stressed their support for the EPI objectives. Over 19 member states have joined and continue to fulfill their commitments under EPI including closing domestic markets by putting ivory beyond economic use and developing National Action Plans,” he said.

Massi disclosed that Malawi has a total funding gap of US$ 3,301,265 against the total seven NEAPS of US$112,949,759.

British High Commissioner to Malawi, Holly Tett said it was important to work with financial sector in order to identity actions to detect and stop illegal wildlife trade and intercept the financial gains driving it.

“We need to jealously guard the malpractice and illegal wildlife trade has proven to be lucrative among traffickers involved in the syndicates,” she said.

Tett pledged that her government will continue to provide technical and financial support to the country to protecting wildlife in form of capacity building initiatives and encouraging partnership with communities within wildlife reserves.

Head of Law Enforcement at Majete Wildlife Reserve, Martin Awazi, commended the restocking process of Majete which started in 2003 through African parks has made positively impacts to protect endangered species in the country.

He said community partnerships have positive contributed to reduce poaching of wildlife since they have seen the benefits of preserving the animals within their societies.

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