The UK government has launched operation at two sites in Malawi, where British troops will train park rangers to better address the threat of poaching.
Following a successful pilot project, the UK will partner with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife to train park rangers at the Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves, to ensure they have the necessary skills and strategies to address the ongoing threat of poaching.
The government of Malawi has been particularly proactive in addressing the challenges of poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife in the country, by increasing penalties for wildlife crime, as well as by partnering with the UK on the issue. For its part, the UK has significantly advanced its efforts to address the global trade in illicit animals ahead of the first London Illegal Wildlife Trade conference, to be held later this year.
How is the UK combating the threat of poaching in Malawi?
As well as supporting park rangers in Malawi and providing specialised training, the UK’s Department for International Development has increased its activities with local communities in Malawi, particularly in poorer areas near wildlife reserves, to promote economy stability and offer people alternative job opportunities, to address the root causes of poaching.
The UK Government has been emphatic about the conservation benefits of combating poaching around the world ahead of its conference, with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson saying: “We can be incredibly proud of the important work our Armed Forces are doing to help protect the magnificent animals of Malawi and to bring about the end of the cruel practice of illegal wildlife trading… UK troops are aiding a highly skilled and professional network of park rangers [to] effectively combat the threat poachers pose to the African wildlife.”
Minister for Africa Hariett Baldwin added: “By bringing together our diplomatic, military and development support we’re helping countries like Malawi combat this crime, and also helping local people to benefit from living alongside these beautiful species, which is boosting economic growth and stability.”