Breaking! UK Government Helps Train African Parks’ Rangers In Malawi, To Combat The Illegal Wildlife Trade

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Image from UK Ministry of Defense

With less than two months to go until the London Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, UK troops in Malawi are helping to train conservation rangers from the non-profit African Parks.

After a successful pilot operation with training now across two locations, Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves are now managed by African Parks in partnership with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). The troops long-term goal is to ensure that the rangers are better skilled and able to respond appropriately to the threat of poaching.

Poaching and the illegal wildlife trade is responsible for the loss of countless species and is driving the decline of many African species including; elephants, rhions, and lions.

“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,” Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said in a statement.“By passing on their world-class, tried and tested skills, we can be sure that UK troops are aiding a highly-skilled and professional network of park rangers, one that can effectively combat the threat poachers pose to African wildlife.”

While British soldiers are working with rangers to support the protection of wildlife, the Department for International Development is working with poorer communities who live close to wildlife reserves to create job opportunities and improve vital services.

“The UK is acting now to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade, which not only threatens the existence of some of our most precious species, but also inflicts damage on local communities and fuels corruption and crime which hold back development for some of the world’s poorest countries,” stated Foreign Minster for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, who recently visited communities living on the edge of Majete Wildlife Reserve and announced an additional £1 million of UK aid support to improve the lives of people living next to national parks.

“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,” continued Baldwin.

The increase in UK Armed Forces’ support to Malawi has been funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) as part of a three-year plan agreed by the Ministry of Defence and DEFRA.

The Government of Malawi has taken an effective and proactive approach to combating the illegal wildlife trade in their country, enhancing penalties for wildlife crime, and partnering with African Parks and the UK Government to drastically reduce poaching activity and secure its parks for the benefit of future generations.

“Effective park management, including law enforcement and community development, is essential in protecting the last of the wild and combatting the illegal wildlife trade at its source,” shared CEO of African Parks, Peter Fearnhead. “The partnership with the UK Government importantly advances our ability to ensure that these increasingly threatened areas continue to function as critical sanctuaries benefitting millions of people and animals across Africa.”

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