By Richard Chirombo:
The United States (US) has lauded Malawi for its efforts in combating wildlife crime.
The development comes barely a week after presentation of the Illegal Wildlife Trade Progress Report to government officials last week.
The report lists down strategies the government and non-State actors put in place to address the problem in the past four years.
The efforts have prompted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to remove Malawi from the list of countries of primary concern on illegal wildlife trade crimes.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the US Embassy says Malawi deserves to be commended for its efforts.
“Congratulations to Malawi for being delisted as one of the countries of primary concern on illegal wildlife trade crimes by the Convention on International Trade in Endangererd Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
“President [Peter] Mutharika and the Malawian government have made great strides to protect its wildlife resources and combating illegal wildlife poaching and trafficking through the review of the National Parks and Wildlife Crimes Act and the establishment of the Wildlife Crime Investigations Unit as well as Wildlife Detection Dog Unit at Kamuzu and Chileka International airports,” the statement reads.
The US government, in partnership with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, provided a grant that facilitated the training of wildlife detection dogs and the rehabilitation of their kennels.
Malawi has made strides in fighting wildlife crime, with Natural Resources Minister Aggrey Masi saying 191 people have been arrested in connection with wildlife crimes in the past one year.
The minister said this during the launch of the 2015 to 2018 report on illegal wildlife trade.
According to the report, within 18 months after amending the National Parks and Wildlife Act in 2017, 191 poachers got arrested and 112 custodial sentences were passed.
“The amended Wildlife Act of 2017 has significantly stiffened wildlife penalty provisions. That has made Malawi treat the crimes as serious,” Masi said.
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