The Malawi Police Service (MPS) has called for concerted efforts in dealing with wildlife related crimes at all levels in the country.
Deputy National Police Spokesperson Senior Superintendent Peter Kalaya said this at Kamuzu International Airport`s (KIA) Wildlife Detection Dog Unit (WDDU) in Lilongwe where both the police and officials from Wildlife Department demonstrated how well-trained detective dogs help in detecting listed species.
According to Kalaya, much as the law enforcers are doing their part in dealing with contrabands, lack of coordination from members of the general public is one of the challenges that is constraining the fight.
“When it comes to fighting wildlife crime should be a concerted effort from different stakeholders, what we want as police is that the public should be able to feed us with information about people who are keeping those prohibited species.
“So, we ask the public to always come forward to answer to us and tell us what is happening in their villages or people who deal in this illicit trade,” said Superintendent Kalaya.
Speaking during the demonstration, Director in the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) Brighton Kumchedwa said the Department has plans of introducing a similar unit in Majete Game Reserve in collaboration with African Parks.
“WE have found the use of dogs to be very instrumental so these dogs are based but a separate unit is going to be established in Majete by African Parks in partnership with our Department.
“We are not necessary beefing up the contingent that we have here but we are creating additional unit which will be operational in Majete of course used elsewhere where it will be needed,” said Kumchedwa.
Meanwhile, Business Development Manager at Airport Development Limited (ADL) Richard Khamisa said ever since the introduction of the detective dogs, the Airport has seen a reduction of cases when it comes to being used as a conduit for wildlife crime.
“In the past two years we had reports that KIA has been used as a conduit to transport these illegal wildlife items so it was a concern on our part as landlord and managers of these Airport.
“But since the collaboration started between us and all the stakeholders mainly Lilongwe Wildlife Trust (LWT) we have seen a reduction in the crime,” said Khamisa.
WDDU was set up in 2018 as a partnership between the MPS and the DNPW supported by LWT.
Ever since, the Unit had gone throughout the years and has been instrumental in several wildlife related arrests.