Director of Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Brighton Kumchedwa, has disclosed that wildlife crime has declined by 50 percent over the past two years.
Kumchedwa said the development raises hope that Malawi could soon win the battle against illegal wildlife trade.
The director made the remarks in Kasungu on Monday on the sidelines of the opening of the five-day training workshop for officials from DNPW, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the Malawi Police Service.
The training workshop has been organised by the Conference on Western Attorneys General (CWAG) of the United States of America (USA).
“Wildlife crime in Malawi is a very serious problem. This is a crime that has been entrenched in people for a long time, but over the past years, we seem to have started winning the battle. So, we believe that well-trained officials will play a critical role in helping Malawi successfully win the battle,” said Kumchedwa.
The Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Patrick Matanda, said wildlife crime is becoming more sophisticated, organised and transnational in nature.
Hence, Matanda said the capacity building initiatives CWAG has undertaken will help ACB, DNPW and police officers gain skills in prosecuting cases bordering on wildlife crime.
“The findings of the GIZ-sponsored illegal wildlife study cleared showed that Malawi is a transit for most of the wildlife contraband from neighbouring countries and beyond. The government is further aware that not only does wildlife crime currently taking place threaten economic growth in our country, it poses a threat to national security, political stability as well as economic growth,” he said.
CWAG country representative Gift Chikwakwa pledged her organisation’s support to Malawi in its efforts to end wildlife crime.