Two of the country’s national parks, Nyika in Rumphi and Kasungu are losing their economic value due to, among others, illicit wildlife trade, according to the Department of Environment and Climate Change.
The department’s spokesperson Sangwani Phiri said in an interview last week that government is losing about K100 million to illicit wildlife trade annually, but other reports estimate the annual loss at $8.4 million (K6 billion).
He said currently, government is promoting Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in running the parks as is the case with Majete Wildlife Reserve in Chikwawa, Liwonde National Park in Machinga and Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.
“Coffee and cassava growers have encroached Nyika National Park while Kasungu National Park is facing high rates of poaching.
“We are suffering from a big economic loss due to these factors and it is a challenge for the ministry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Malawi is set to benefit from a $ 40 million (about K29 billion) United Nations (UN)-backed partnership fund to counter illegal wildlife trafficking through the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP).
Malawi is among 19 countries in Africa and Asia set to benefit from the fund.
The support is expected to strengthen the capacity of government to combat poaching and trafficking of wildlife, and wildlife products in key range and transit countries that are in the front lines of combating wildlife crimes.
A press statement posted on United Nations News Centre recently said the fund is an expansion for the GWP which was established to address the growing poaching crisis and an international call to action.
In September last year, President Peter Mutharika at a networking reception on wildlife trafficking in Washington, DC, appealed to the international agencies to help Malawi in its fight against illegal wildlife trade.
In a recent statement, Global Environmental Facility (GEF) chief executive officer and chairperson Naoko Ishii said poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking are reaching unprecedented levels, robbing the livelihoods of local communities and eroding the world of its treasure. n