By Theresa Chapulapula, contributor:
Department of National Parks and Wildlife officials have, under International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw)’s Combating Wildlife Crime Project, confiscated 161 kilogrammes (kg) of ivory in Malawi and Zambia from April 1 to June 30 this year.
The project supports departments of National Parks and Wildlife in Zambia and Malawi in the fight against wildlife crime.
Malawi-Zambia Trans-boundary Landscape Project Chief of Party Patricio Ndadzela said confiscation of the items is an indication that stakeholders are making headway in protecting wildlife.
“The seizure of 161kg, compared to 265.4kg in the previous quarter, marks a significant decrease and demonstrates that we are disrupting criminals who poach and traffic wildlife,” he said.
Ndadzela said the project combats wildlife crime in the landscape through a variety of strategies, including law enforcement and community engagement.
“Intensified and strategic patrols have been a key activity in successfully apprehending several suspects and leading to the confiscation of items such as guns, animal skins, ivory and charcoal,” he said.
The goal of the project, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development, is to see elephant populations stabilise or increase in the Malawi-Zambia landscape through a decrease in poaching-related mortalities.
In partnership with government agencies in Zambia and Malawi, the project is strengthening anti-wildlife crime enforcement in the region by supporting regional coordination among agencies and prioritising wildlife crime across enforcement and regulatory agencies. It targets Kasungu National Park in Malawi and Lukusuzi and Luambe national parks in Zambia.