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President Professor Peter Mutharika has stressed that his government will prioritize protection of wildlife and that it will ensure the country’s natural resources are not plundered for the profit of the few.
Mutharika said this on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe where he launched two video clips in which he leads over fifteen foreign envoys in delivering messages condemning wildlife crime in Malawi.
The clips are meant to serve as tools to propel the ‘Stop Wildlife Crimes Campaign,’ an initiative that was launched in February 2014 to protect the natural heritage of the country.
The President said the future of wildlife was in the people’s hands and that the people’s own future depended on wildlife.
He warned that if the wildlife went unprotected, the country stood to lose wildlife species and biodiversity and all opportunities for economic development through tourism, among other things.
“…If we cannot save one of Africa’s most iconic species from extinction, then what hope do we have for the rest of our wildlife?” said Mutharika.
The President advised that focus should not only be on elephants and the illegal ivory trade but on the rest of the other species in the wilderness too.
“Our own survival as humankind is based on our ability to protect our natural heritage; that is protecting everything from the most majestic of animals such as elephants and rhinos, through to the forests, birds and insects,” said Mutharika.
The Malawi leader further urged the media to spread the video clips far and beyond for the message to be absorbed by millions of Malawians and visitors to the country.
Speaking on behalf of all the foreign envoys featured in the clips, the British High Commissioner to Malawi, Michael Nevin, urged his fellow diplomats to spread the message to citizens of their respective countries visiting Malawi.
Nevin said Malawi was making a positive name on the agenda of protecting the wildlife but he said more needed to be done to take the fight to heights.
“We are here to play our role and we need to do more to take the message outside Africa that poaching, or trafficking of wildlife product of any kind is a crime,” said Nevin.
The envoys starred in the clips are from EU, UK, China, Japan, U.S.A, Norway, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Korea, Egypt, Brazil, Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Mozambique,
The first clip is in English where Mutharika opens with a message urging all Malawians and visitors to help protect Malawi’s wildlife and stop wildlife crime.
The ambassadors, High Commissioners, and Honorary Councils then take turns expanding the message condemning wildlife crime.
The second clip is a multilingual version where Mutharika and the same characters starred in clip one deliver the same message but in their individual mother-tongue language.