By Singayazi Kaminjolo
In response to calls by communities living around Liwonde National Park in Machinga to keep in check rampaging elephants that have killed half a dozen villagers, government has constructed an electric fence around the park.
The 15 kilometre stretch of electrical fence constructed by Afro Oriental Investment at a cost of K150 million (about $375 000) is part of the ongoing initiatives to step up security at the national park to protect people from wild animals.
Minister of Tourism Rachel Zulu, who officially received the fence from the contractor, said government was concerned about the deaths of villagers at the hands of elephants; hence, the immediate response to prevent more deaths.
Government had earlier erected a 60-kilometre stretch of fence but most of it has been vandalised by game poachers.
During a tour of the park in village heads Chiloboti and Maninji areas, a vandalaised three-kilometre stretch of fence was seen and elephants use that point to escape from the national park.
Government through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife has deployed 20 elite game rangers drawn from across the country who conduct 24-hour patrols of the area to keep elephants away from the communities.
Senior Chief Liwonde said since the deployment of the rangers in July, no deaths have been reported in the area.
Acting director for national parks and wildlife Bright Kumchedwa said while his troops are winning the war against rampaging elephants, the challenge they face is shortage of ammunition.