Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Director, Brighton Kumchedwa has hailed Malawi Police Service (MPS) for showing commitment in combating wildlife crimes in the country through Wildlife Detection Dog Unit (WDDU). He made the remarks recently during the WDDU demonstration day which was held at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) in Lilongwe.
Kumchedwa said that through WDDU, Police have played vital role in dealing with crimes concerning wildlife in the country. “With WDDU has played a greater role in detecting items such as ivory and rhino horns which are usually smuggled by some people and traded within or outside the country.
“The good example is Chinese case of 2019 where police used the dogs to detect contraband from some Chinese nationals who were taken to court where some of them were given a jail term of 17 years,” he narrated.
The Director added that with support from MPS, his department has managed to reduce wildlife cases in the country. “We have now managed to contain poaching, illegal wildlife trade particularly ivory trafficking which was more serious in the past,” he said.
He said that his Department and African Parks would help in setting up a new WDDU at Majete Wildlife Reserve as one way of maximize the protection of country’s wildlife.
“We have seen the use of dogs to be very instrumental in dealing with wildlife crimes, for this reason we will have a separate WDDU at Majete and our department in partnership with African Parks will help in establishing the unit,” Kumchedwa explained.
Deputy National Police Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent, Peter Kalaya said that MPS was devoted to support DNPW in protecting wildlife in the country.
He urged the public to join hands with Police in protecting wildlife by reporting people who are suspected to have in possession of wildlife contrabands.
“When it comes to combating wildlife crimes should be concerted effort from different stakeholders including the public, as we are asking the public to be feeding us with information concerning people who are keeping ivory or other prohibited species,” he said.
WDDU was set up in 2018 as a partnership between the MPS and DNPW supported by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, the unit is funded by; Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, GIZ, Vulcan and Lion Recovery Fund.