Lilongwe Wildlife Trust launched the campaign to ‘Stop Wildlife Crime. Protect Malawi’s Wildlife’ in March 2014 as a joint initiative with Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Since then a great deal has been achieved both through the campaign and also independently through other initiatives such as the formation of the IWC inter-agency committee, the illegal wildlife trade assessment and the launch of the national elephant action plan. Whilst the fight is only just beginning we are already seeing results. Poachers are receiving maximum fines and custodial sentences and the law is currently under revision to take this even further. On Thursday 2nd April Malawi will show the world just how committed it is to fighting wildlife crime when the President himself sets light to Malawi’s 4 tonne stockpile of ivory.
Lilongwe Wildlife Trust is taking a leading role in Malawi’s fight against illegal wildlife trade. Collaboration is key and Malawi is moving forward at a great pace thanks to the hard work of both Government and a consortium of NGO’s. For example Wildlife Action Group and WESM joined us in the campaign’s petition to the Government to say ‘no’ to ivory – signed by over 7000 people and to be presented to the President just before he sets light to the stockpile. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust has also written the country’s illegal wildlife trade assessment in partnership with GIZ and with support from the Born Free Foundation. The inter-agency committee was set up by the Government with support from the RSPCA, who along with Stop Ivory were instrumental in Malawi’s signing of the Elephant Protection Initiative. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust are working alongside both organisations as a technical advisor for the National Elephant Action Plan. The Tusk Trust have sponsored our ‘wildlife crime’ education programme which is being rolled out around national parks with the support of organisations like Children in the Wilderness and other organisations such as IFAW, African Parks and WAG have been delivering law enforcement training to scouts, judiciary and police. Engaging support from the top to the bottom is key, and we hope that the world steps forward on Thursday to recognise Malawi’s efforts to stamp out illegal wildlife trade and save Africa’s elephants and rhinos from extinction.