A Mulanje based educational charity foundation, Otharhaka, recently tipped learners at Nkanda Primary School in Mulanje district to keep in mind the protection of elephants and rhinos in the country as a way of raising awareness for the protection of the two endangered species among the future generation.
Elephants and Rhinos are heavily poached in Malawi and across the world for their ivory and horns that are reported to be fetching huge prices on many markets worldwide.
Speaking during a tree plantation event held at Nkanda Primary school in view of the protection of the two species, Programmes Director for Othakarhaka Ted Mwango said the Foundation, in collaboration with the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, decided to engage primary school learners in the symbolic restoration of homes for the animals in order for them to understand the poverty in which the animals are living in the country.
“We know we do not have elephants and rhinos here in Mulanje but we also know that these children will not grow up and die here. There are possibilities that when they grow up they might move to other places where they will live close to these animals, so we want them to grow up feeling responsible over these animals so that even in the future they should not turn into enemies of these species and contribute to their poaching that has been happening in Malawi and across Africa,” said Mwango.
During the event, learners and teachers from Nkanda Primary School planted over 1000 tree seedlings at the foot of Mulanje Mountain where the school lies, as a way of accepting the responsibility of rehousing Elephants and Rhinos in the country.
Head teacher for Nkanda Primary School Justin Kachala commended the organization for the insightful initiative which he said was an eye-opener to most of the learners.
According to Kachala, most of the students were not aware of the dangers that elephants and rhinos are living in across the world because such information is not handy in their daily class lessons, hence the importance of holding such an awareness event.
“Through this tree planting day they have learnt something about the environment in which Elephants and Rhinos are living and definitely some of them will grow up keeping that information in their minds and we can be assured that one way or the other today we have managed to save the life of a certain elephant or rhino in the future through this brief awareness,” said the Head teacher.
Concurring with Kachala, Assistant District Forestry Officer Desty Malinga said although not keeping the two aforementioned poached species, Mulanje Mountain was in great need for re-afforestation if it were to retain its tourist attraction which it has drastically lost over the past years.
According to Safari Bookings, apart from Elephants and Rhinos, currently the list of most endangered animal species in Africa includes Ethiopian Wolfs, Pangolins and Mountain Gorillas among others.