Hundreds of supporters turned out to march in aid of the first ever Malawi Wildlife Day last week and what a fun day it was. Hosted in response to World Wildlife Day which was announced by the United Nations this month, the entourage of government officials, scouts, charity workers and school children was led by the Minister of Tourism, Hon. Moses Kunkuyu, the British High Commissioner, Hon. Michael Nevin and Director of National Parks and Wildlife, Mr Brighton Kumchedwa. The children had made banners and composed their own chants and the Department of Culture even lent us their dance troop for the occasion. There was a scheduled stop on the way so that the Minister could officially launch the ‘stop wildlife crime’ campaign on local TV. This joint campaign, run by the DNPW and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, showed an important commitment by the government to fight international wildlife trafficking and step up to help protect Malawi’s wildlife.
Back at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre, both the Minister and High Commissioner gave rousing speeches on stage for the opening ceremony and the school children showed their passion for wildlife through specially themed dances, acrobatics, poetry and songs that they had chosen themselves.
As the LWC team treated the learners to snacks, drinks and fun wildlife games, the country’s leading wildlife experts retreated for private talks to catch up on progress since those held at LWC back in February before the International Wildlife Trade conference in London. This was followed by a televised panel discussion with the Directors of Parks and Tourism, one of the country’s top magistrates and an Interpol representative discussing the value of wildlife to both Malawi and the world’s biodiversity and the hard line that Malawi will be taking in the futre dealing with poachers and traffickers.
All this was organised in just 2 weeks and a huge amount of work was put in by the organising committee, so big thanks to all those who pulled together from Departments of Parks, Tourism and Culture, the City Council, police, WESM, Wildlife Action Group, media representatives and of course all the hard working staff and volunteers at Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.