The Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife (DNPW) has expressed deep concern with wildlife encroachment across the country.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana) on Friday, Director for DNPW, Brighton Kumchedwa said there are high cases of encroachment in all protected areas and it is one of the biggest challenges that they are facing in the department.
“This is due to increased human population characterized by high levels of poverty around all protected areas. As such, many people opt to encroach the reserved areas in search of more land for cultivation, settlements, timber and charcoal,” Kumchedwa said.
He said the increased encroachment of protected areas is affecting environment and wildlife conservation.
“Encroachment is promoting habitat loss which in many cases is due to human-wildlife conflict. Poaching is also going on an increase due to the same,” he added.
He however, said the department is using several strategies in managing the situation including enforcing the amended Wildlife Act, conducting mass awareness to the communities surrounding reserved areas and promoting livelihood enhancement programs among the communities.
“Revenue sharing with the communities surrounding protected areas is also a priority for us. We hope that the strategies will assist in curbing wildlife encroachment,” said Kumchedwa.
He has since called upon all members of the general public to be responsible and take part in wildlife conservation which he said promotes socio-economic development of the country through tourism.