Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) says the Wildlife Detection Dog Unit (WDDU) has helped in the fight against wildlife crime in the country.
The Dogs are trained to detect wildlife and Mulanje Cider products at Kamuzu International Airport (KIA) searching area.
Speaking with reporters during a demonstration of how dogs detect illegal wildlife products, DWNP Director Brighton Kumchedwa noted that since 2018 the unit has grown and has been instrumental in several wildlife arrests such as in 2019 when the dogs were used and managed to find illegal things including teargas, firearms, ivory and pangolins scales which were being smuggled by Chinese nationals. The smugglers were sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Kumchedwa added that the department has managed to control poaching and wildlife trade in the protected areas.
“At the stage we are, l can say we have managed to contain some cases like animals that were being killed by poachers at the same time maintaining different species of animals in our protected areas such as Kasungu.
“When we compare Ivory that was being confiscated in the and now, we can say that the volume decreased. There are also few cases of Malawi being used as a transit for illegal trading for wildlife,” said Kumchedwa.
He added that another unit will be established in Majete with support from Africa Parks in partnership with Parks and Wildlife Department.
In his remarks, National Publicist Superintendent Peter Kalaye said looking at the results they have been getting from the unit, the security providers are impressed.
Kalaye then asked the general public at large to keep informing the police about illegal activities that involve Wildlife considering that it is a joint effort.
On his part, KIA Business Department Manager Richard Khamisa said that the airport was being used as source of illegal trading for wildlife items which has been a concern to them.
He went to say that since they joined forces with Lilongwe Wildlife Society, they have seen a reduction in the crime.
The Wildlife Detection Dog Unit was set up in 2018 as a partnership between the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, supported by Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.