By Audrey Kapalamula:
The United States (US) Embassy has said it is satisfied with how Malawi Police Service (MPS) Wildlife Unit at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife are operating with the aid of sniffer trained dogs in combating wildlife crimes in the country.
US Charge d’ Affairs, Andrew Herrup, said the dogs, trained with financial support from the US Government in May, led to arrest of Chinese and three Malawians as well as the recovery of multiple specimen of protected species.
“We congratulate the MPS and the Dog Unit for this impressive bust. We are glad to see that our three-year partnership with Malawi to counter transnational crime in the region continues to pay off and to learn the dogs we provided here in Malawi helped in this case.
“As the presence of rhino horn in the loot illustrates, the criminal syndicate involved operated beyond Malawi’s borders and what we have seen here is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said
Herrup said the US hoped that the arrests and subsequent prosecution would help put an end to the depletion of Malawi’s precious natural resources by criminal elements.
He has called on all nations, particularly destinations for Africa’s wildlife, to move beyond words and take action when their nationals are implicated in transnational criminal networks.
The US commitment to Wildlife Protection in Malawi totals K26.5 billion ($35 million) over the past five years, with K 4.5 billion ($6 million) specifically dedicated to support anti-poaching and law enforcement efforts to combat wildlife crimes.
Through a grant from the US Government, Malawi established its first Wildlife Detection Dog Unit in August 2018, comprising four dogs trained to detect wildlife and is deployed at borders, airports and road-blocks, among other areas.
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