In February 2014, Malawi was one of 42 countries to sign the London Declaration and pledge to fight illegal wildlife trade. Malawi responded by launching its campaign to “Stop Wildlife Crime. Protect Malawi’s Wildlife.” The campaign is a joint initiative between Department of National Parks & Wildlife and Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with a set of broad objectives: inspire local pride in the nation’s natural heritage, encourage action from decision makers and law enforcers, and attract international support in light of Malawi’s resolve to combat illegal wildlife trade. The campaign has recently been extended to help reduce demand for wildlife products.
STOP WILDLIFE CRIME CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
Feb/Mar 2014: Illegal wildlife trade talks hosted by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre ahead of London conference. ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ campaign officially launched at World Wildlife Day, including 12 month billboard campaign.
Oct 2014: Malawi takes part in the Global March for Elephants & Rhinos. Close to 4000 signatures were collected in partnership with Wildlife Action Group and presented to the Government calling for prioritisation of wildlife crime and the destruction of ivory stockpiles.
Dec 2014: SWC campaign shortlisted for a CIM Award. Aviation authorities give the freedom of the airports to install banners and window advertising targeting travellers and staff, who were also trained in ivory identification.
Mar 2015: 45 feature articles published in the campaign’s first year. Includes international press coverage from the UK’s Independent on Sunday, National Geographic, Africa Geographic, Newsweek and New York Post. Malawi announces ivory burn. Ian Redmond, OBE, joins SWC campaign.
Apr 2015: Malawi’s World Wildlife Day commemorations for 2015 led with the Stop Wildlife Crime campaign – the first ever wildlife event in the country’s history to be attended by a president. H.E. Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika is the first to watch the Stop Wildlife Crime’ film in a private briefing with us. It is subsequently aired nationwide on all of Malawi’s TV stations. H.E. also accepts 7,000+ signatures collected in support of the campaign. One element did not go to plan: the ivory burn was postponed. Read a National Geographic article on why we support Malawi’s ivory burn here.
May 2015: Community rallies held around Liwonde. Intelligence gathered as a result of the outreach has been used in covert investigations.
Aug/Sept 2015: LWT lead on the events committee for the launch of the Malawi Parliamentary Conservation Caucus, where President Mutharika makes a pledge for zero tolerance on wildlife crime. MPCC pledge support for stop wildlife crime campaign and ‘back the burn’ .
Oct 2015: SWC film is shown at the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York. Malawi High Commissioner to the UK speaks at London’s Global March for Elephants & Rhinos on our behalf. SWC poster competition winners announced from almost 600 entries.
Nov 2015: The Chinese Embassy joins the SWC campaign to sensitise citizens and reduce demand for wildlife products. SMS campaign targeting Chinese nationals introduced. Chinese language materials to be distributed in January 2016, and Chinese KOL visit planned for March 2016 in partnership with IFAW.
Dec 2015: 15 more ambassadors to Malawi join the SWC campaign and commit to sensitising their nationals on wildlife crime. SWC campaign’s pedal power roadshow reaching rural communities around protected areas starts.