By Lucky Mkandawire
A new initiative aimed at decreasing poaching pressure in Liwonde National Park has been launched with government expressing optimism that the project will also reduce human and wildlife conflict in the area.
The initiative, Chikolongo Community Fish Farm and Model Boundary Fence Project, is also expected to provide an alternative livelihood opportunity that will bring long-lasting economic prospects to the surrounding community.
Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Culture, Rachel Mazombwe-zulu, speaking over the weekend when she launched the project described the initiative as an excellent approach in ensuring conservation of natural resources and economic empowerment of communities in the area.
A team effort between the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), the Malawi Government, the Federal Government of Germany, through their mission in Malawi, and the Microloan Foundation, among others, the magnificent initiative distinctively bonds the need for animal welfare with that of humans.
For years, the area had been a hot spot of human-wildlife conflict a development that has led to considerable and alarming loss of human life, loss of crops and livelihoods and the unsustainable exploitation of the resources with the Liwonde National Park.
“This project, therefore, has come at a right time when government is emphasizing participatory approach to wildlife conservation,” said the minister.
Zulu stressed that government was committed to implementing new approaches, especially to develop partnerships with stakeholders, to effectively manage wildlife both inside and outside protected areas as previously neighbouring communities to such areas never benefited anything let alone allowed access to harvest certain natural resources on a sustainable basis. More....