Authorities at Liwonde National Park, in collaboration with Operation Safe Haven, on Monday torched 10 000 pieces of wire snares and gin traps which aid poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife products such as ivory and rhino horns.
The snares are traps made from wire which poachers steal from an electric fence around the park while the gin traps are made from iron to grip animals.
Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Kondwani Nankhumwa on Monday led the torching of the confiscated snares and traps at Liwonde National Park.
Nankhumwa condemned the practice, saying it devastates, robs and handicaps the country’s natural heritage and economy.
Liwonde National Park has nine rhinos, about 700 elephants and 800 buffaloes among numerous fauna. All these animals are vulnerable to wire snares and gin traps.
Nankhumwa commended Operation Safe Haven for supporting government in dealing with acts that put the country’s wildlife at risk.
Nankhumwa also received an operation complex worth $85 000(about K43 million) from Operation Safe Haven. The complex includes a radio communication network to improve communication system in the park’s seven camps.
Operation Safe Haven project coordinator Mark Hiley said the organisation was established after noting that poaching of elephants, rhinos and buffaloes, which are part of the ‘Big Five’ animals that attract tourists, was on the rise.
He said he hoped that the complex will contribute towards effective wildlife conservation and protection at Liwonde National Park.
Hiley, who came to Malawi as a tourist in 2012, teamed up with Mike Labuschagne to start Operation Safe Haven whose activities started in November 2014.
The project received funding from International Fund for Animal Welfare.