UK army in Malawi to stem illegal wildlife trade: Training new force of anti-poaching trackers.


Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times

Date Published

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Biritsh army will deploy a team of soliders  to Malawi to train park rangers as combat tracking instructors, which will in turn help neutralise the threat of poaching, and bring those responsible to justice, it has been announced.

The British solders from 1 (UK) Division  will be deployed early next year.

The development comes after  Prince Harry spent three weeks in Malawi in July and August working on a major project to transfer 500 elephants more than 200 miles to a wildlife reserve.

According to the UK government’s website, the  training to help tackle organised wildlife crime  forms part of a three-year plan, agreed by the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), to support and fund a series of military-led counter-poaching activities.

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mike Penning said: “Illegal poaching and organised crime go hand-in-hand and remain a global threat. Our world class Armed Forces are stepping up, demonstrating Britain’s commitment to helping tackle organised crime world-wide.

“We will support partners, including Malawi, to help stamp out organised crime and the evil menace of poaching.”

According to the UK government website, the training will be delivered under the guidance of charity the Tusk Trust, and alongside the British Peace Support Team (South Africa) and DEFRA.

Malawi faces significant challenges from poaching, and its elephants are particularly at risk from smugglers attempting to traffic ivory. They form part of wider organised crime and illegal operations in the region, but Malawi as a country is not alone.

UK military personnel have previously carried out anti-poaching training inGabon, and the British Army Training Unit Kenya is supporting the building of an elephant fence in Kenya to protect the endangered animals from poachers, as well as protecting the British training area, local people and resources.