Malawi: Tourists Disappear as Elephant Poaching Reach Unprecedented Levels


Owen Khamula, Nyasa Times

Date Published

Government is now conceding that elephant poaching has reached unprecedented levels in Malawi national parks and game reserves forcing a high drop in tourism population in these sites.

Director of Wildlife and Parks Brighton Kunchedwa said this on Monday in Blantyre during the opening of a two week workshop to sensitise Malawi Revenue Authority how to combat poaching and identify wildlife products.

“For example, in Kasungu National Park we had 2000 elephants now we have less than 40. Almost all the elephants are wiped out by poachers;” said Kunchedwa.

He said concessionaires at Nkhotakota Game Reserve will soon be restocking the elephant population from the current 400 to 1500 to ring the game reserve back to its old glory.

Kunchedwa said Liwonde National Park has an over population of elephants which have reached an unmanageable levels therefore some elephants would be relocated to Nkhotakota Game Reserve.

Deputy Director of the Malawi Revenue Authority Rosa Mbilizi said it is within the mandate of her organisation to crack down on illegal exportation of wildlife products.

She lamented that it was sad that apart from elephants that are hunted down and killed for their ivory, some precious fish and flowers continue to be illegally exported with impunity.

Mbilizi said apart from weak legislation that hands down soft sentences on illegal exporters of wildlife, most MRA officials would not identify wildlife products.