Today’s commemorations of World Wildlife Day in Malawi went ahead but without the burning of the 4 tonne ivory stockpile. Last night, a Government announcement was made that today’s ivory burn was postponed, citing the need to include an additional 2.6 tonnes of ivory which is currently being held as court evidence. A new date for the destruction of the ivory has yet to be set. Hon Kondwani Nankumwa MP, Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, said in his press statement regarding the postponement “Whilst Government remains committed to fight wildlife crime, including protection of iconic species of elephants and rhinos, which are key for tourism promotion in Malawi, it is important that the entire stockpile of ivory is destroyed once and for all.”
Last week, Malawi became the 7th country to sign up to the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI). In his speech today the President of Malawi, His Excellency Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, reiterated commitments made under the EPI which included putting Malawi’s stockpiles out of economic use.
Jonathan Vaughan, Director of Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, said, “We are encouraged by the continued commitment to put Malawi’s entire ivory stockpile out of economic use once High Court proceedings on the case in question have been concluded. Confiscated ivory cannot be legally sold, as per international regulations. In this case the act of destruction would show the rest of the world exactly what Malawi’s intentions are – to stop wildlife crime and protect Malawi’s wildlife, including its’ invaluable elephants.”
The rest of the colourful commemorations went ahead as planned. A solidarity march to Parliament was followed by a ceremony led by the President. School children presented the President with over 7000 signatures supporting the Government in their decision to say ‘no’ to ivory as part of Malawi’s ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ campaign. His Excellency then viewed the ivory stockpiles and unveiled the plaque before viewing the premiere of the campaign’s short film and proceeding to speeches.
Leadership of this event by His Excellency, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, showed the highest level of commitment to address the illegal wildlife trade in Malawi.
For stills and footage of the event please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos credited to Morgan Trimble/Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.
For footage contact email@example.com. credits: Julian Braatvedt/Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.
The ‘stop wildlife crime’ campaign is a joint initiative between Lilongwe Wildlife Trust and Department of National Parks and Wildlife. More information at www.malawiwildlife.org.