Malawi is currently Southern Africa’s principal transit hub for elephant ivory and other illicit wildlife products. Wildlife crimes such as the bush-meat and illegal pet trades are still commonplace and not only cause suffering for individual animals but also threaten species with extinction.
Despite the ongoing conservation challenges in Malawi, 2016 was a successful year for Lilongwe Wildlife Trust – a new wildlife act, the country’s first wildlife crime investigation unit, awards, record wildlife rescues and releases and the highest ever participation in our conservation education programme, to name just a few.
The government’s progressive and collaborative approach, coupled with the all-important support from our local and international partners, has helped us drive many initiatives forward. Thank you to our supporters, volunteers and staff for your continued dedication – you make these achievements possible!
Sadly, the challenges continue into 2017, and we need your support more than ever. If you’re interested in volunteering, becoming a member or making a donation, then please get in touch.
ADVOCACY & ENFORCEMENT
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust aims to influence decision makers and help bring criminals to justice. It supports high level wildlife crime investigations, wildlife justice programmes for prosecutors and courts, and revisions to wildlife policy and legislation. In 2016, we were the lead local NGO on the following projects:
- The National Parks & Wildlife Act Amendment Bill was passed in record time. Penalties for serious wildlife crimes have been increased up to 30 years with modest fines no longer an option.
- The first specialised Wildlife Crime Investigation Unit was established within the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, working alongside the new Wildlife Intelligence Unit within the Malawi Police Service. These units made more wildlife trafficking arrests in the last 7 months of 2016 than the previous 7 years.
- LWT was authorised by the Directorate of Public Prosecution and Malawi Judiciary to litigate wildlife crimes and place advocates inside courtrooms. Prosecutors achieved a 94% conviction rate in 2016 and a dramatic increase in custodial sentences, including the first ever custodial sentences in Malawi for police officers, foreign traffickers and rhino horn dealing.
- Malawi’s President and 15 ambassadors, including the Chinese Ambassador, joined the Stop Wildlife Crime campaign and featured in a film on the illegal ivory trade, designed to deter their people from entering into wildlife crime.
WILDLIFE WELFARE & RESEARCH
LWT is committed to easing the suffering of wild animals and working for the survival and wellbeing of species. This year:
- LWT continues to run the government’s nationwide wildlife emergency response unit and the country’s only sanctuary, with record rescues this year – 45% more than in 2015.
- Veterinary support was provided for the world’s largest wildlife translocation (an African Parks project) that included 250 elephants,
- LWT was granted membership to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and invited to join their Urban Biodiversity and African Elephant Specialist Groups.
- The Wildlife Centre became one of only two sanctuaries in Africa accredited by GFAS (Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries).
- New biodiversity and conservation medicine research units were established as well as wildlife rehabilitation and veterinary courses for local and international students.
LWT recognises the importance of influencing Malawian people to protect their wildlife and by doing so, inspire future conservation ambassadors. This year:
- The PASA Siddle-Marsden Award was awarded to LWT’s Head of Education, Clement Manjaalera, for his commitment to conservation.
- Tailored conservation education programmes were rolled out in communities around the protected areas of Nyika, Vwaza, Kasungu and Salima.
- TV and radio programmes were delivered through new media partnerships to reach a national audience.
- LWT’s pedal power cinema initiative increased the programme’s reach to key remote audiences.
- Small scale sustainable livelihood projects – bee keeping, adult literacy and fuel briquettes – were expanded.
Key government agency partners: Dep’t of National Parks & Wildlife, Malawi Police Service, Dep’t of Public Prosecutions, Dep’t of Education, Malawi Revenue Authority, and Office of President & Cabinet.
Read the full report here