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Wildlife Department gets aircraft

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Bintony Kutsaira

Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) has given the Department of National Parks and Wildlife an aircraft worth $100, 000 (K73 million) for inspection of Vwaza Wildlife Reserve in Rumphi District.

PPF was appointed as a fund manager in a Malawi-Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area project aimed at improving eco-system.

Speaking during the handover event held yesterday, PPF Chief Executive Officer, Werner Myburgh, said they want to build more infrastructure, including road network, to boost tourism in the wildlife reserve.

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Myburgh said Vwaza and Nyika Wildlife reserves receive 2,000 tourists annually.

“People come to Africa, Malawi inclusive, because of its wildlife. So we have a 20-year strategy to make the sites more attractive to the world. We first want to improve the Vwaza tourism face. So in the next 15 to 20 years, we envision having 20,000 visitors per annum,” he said.

Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Minister, Bintony Kutsaira, said the aircraft will, among others, be used for anti-poaching campaigns and monitoring the reserve.

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“Very soon, we will be signing an agreement with Peace Foundation to manage the reserve and they will help us in marketing the forest, construction of more tourists’ attraction infrastructure within the forest and also make sure the population of animals in the reserve increases. This is a milestone to us because tourism will be improved,” he said.

He further said PPF intends to purchase a helicopter next year for Nyika National Park for the protection of the wildlife reserve.

Recently, Reserve Bank of Malawi said investing in other sectors such as tourism could help Malawi develop easily as agriculture is struggling due to weather and climatic shocks.

The 1,000-square kilometre Vwaza Wildlife Reserve is a home to 300 elephants and other wildlife species and lies along the Zambia border, Rumphi north-west.

The donation comes when 17 black rhinos were released to Liwonde National Park from South Africa recently.

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