Malawi: Your guns are not toys, Tourism Minister Usi tells Game Rangers

Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Minister Michael UIsi said game wardens must respond with equivalent action whenever they see their lives in danger from poachers.

The Minister said this on Friday, June 17, 2022 when he presided over the formal handover of various field equipment worth over K15 million from the Alliance of Attorneys General (AGA) and the Alliance of Wildlife Investigators (WITA) to the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife.

Usi thanked AGA and WITA for the kind donation of valuable equipment to be used by Department of National Parks and Wildlife personnel in their duty to combat wildlife crime.

He said it is important to know that the wildlife sub-sector contributes about 2.7% to the overall growth of the tourism sector, and that the donation comes at the right time as tourism is a priority for the socio-economic development of the country. as envisioned in the Malawi Development Agenda 2063.

The Minister added: “In order to motivate staff in this fight against wildlife crime, it is necessary to provide the tools and equipment, such as those handed over to the government today. These will go a long way to reduce the challenges field staff face in carrying out their noble duty.”

The Minister sympathized with the Rangers over the death of their colleague who was killed by thugs in Machinga in April this year, during an undercover mission to recover a rhino horn which was killed by suspected poachers .

He said Rangers, in addition to the service they provide to the community, also have a duty to protect themselves from the vagaries of their profession. He therefore advised them to always be vigilant to defend themselves.

“Your weapons are not toys, so you must be ready to use them whenever your life is in danger, in accordance with your training.

“You have to tell the difference between an encroachment and a poacher. You talk to an encroachment and you understand each other because often they are there for their livelihood. A poacher on the other hand is dangerous and his intention is to kill. So you have to be equivalent in your response,” Minister Usi said.

In his earlier remarks, AGA’s Program Manager for Africa, Chukukere K Unamba-Oparah, said his organization has worked with the Department of Wildlife for a long time and sees them as partners, which is why they have decided to donate.

He added that the AGA is working with various partners in many countries in Africa such as Ghana, South Africa, Seychelles and Zambia to train partners who include the judiciary and the police in areas such as as the fight against transnational cybercrime.

He commended the commitment officers of the Department of Wildlife have shown over the years in the fight against wildlife crime.

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