By Leah Malimbasa – Mana.
As Malawi is jointly commemorating World Wetlands Day, Wildlife Day and Rangers Day, Minister of Tourism Vera Kamtukule has urged stakeholders to join hands with rangers in protecting wild animals and environment in general.
Kamtukule was speaking at Mitole ground in Chikwawa on Monday during the national commemoration of Wildlife celebrated under the theme “Partnerships for Conservation and Restoration”.
The minister who visited Majete Wildlife Reserve before the function said she is saddened to see handmade guns and traps that can instantly cut one’s limbs, made by poachers to use in trapping rangers and animals.
“The rangers put their lives on the line during their work, so this is a critical day to honour them and the departed souls,” she said.
Kamtukule added that the event also sets in motion a narrative that everyone has the responsibility to protect the environment.
“We are in the process of improving the workers’ conditions of services and making sure that we have enough rangers who are also well equipped as this is a tedious job,” she added.
While emphasising the need for all stakeholders to participate, Kamtukule said she is happy that there are others who are already helping.
“The ministry received a proposal from young people who designed drones for free and offered to donate and train our rangers on how to use them. We are planning to pilot the project at Kasungu National Park. Through this, we are leveraging technology to help us doing the work,” she said.
In his remarks, District Commissioner for Chikwawa Nardin Kamba said Lower Shire is blessed with Majete Wildlife Reserve, Lengwe National Park and Mwavi Game Reserve in Nsanje, hence the need for stakeholders to work together.
“Currently the council has a good working relationship with Majete Wildlife Reserve and we are happy with the partnership whose aim is to conserve the environment,” added Kamba.
The commemorations activities included inspection of rangers, a parade by all participants from Chikwawa District Council to Mitole ground, awarding biodiversity protection and conservation achievers also honouring those who lost their lives while on the job.
The event was also spiced up by traditional dances and comedies.