Female rangers from Lengwe and Mwabvi with their supervisors

59 (53 men, six women) wildlife rangers from Lengwe National Park and Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve attended a two-week joint training program on anti-poaching and law enforcement at Lengwe National Park in Chikwawa with support from the Shire Valley Transformation Programme.

Speaking during the ceremony, the Deputy Director of Parks responsible for Research, Mr. William Mgoola emphasized the need for the rangers to use the skills and knowledge gained from the training. He further encouraged the rangers to desist from indulging in corrupt activities while executing their duties. These sentiments were echoed by Mr. Wisely Kawaye, Division Manager for the Lower Shire.

The Guest of Honor during the ceremony was the SVTP Acting Project Coordinator Dr. Stanley Khaila.

โ€œThese two protected areas used to be rich in natural resources. The 887km2 Lengwe National Park is rich in fauna like buffaloes and nyala and is home to the mopane tree. Lengwe National Park is under threat of illegal logging and poaching hence the need for more community engagement. Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve was once home to the endangered black rhino. We need to work with our communities to restore and guard these resources jealously as these are part of our national heritage. Law enforcement and community engagement are paramount to the conservation of these natural resources. We will continue to support the provision of alternative livelihoods to the communities so that they stop relying on these natural resources all the time,โ€ he said.

The ceremony was moderated by Mr. Alex Chunga from the Department of National Parks (DNPWs) headquarters. Paramount Chief Dr. Lundu, Deputy Directors from the DPNW, the officer in charge of Chikwawa Police, representatives of the Chikwawa District Council, management of the two protected areas, and staff from the SVTP were also in attendance.

Participants were awarded certificates of completion. Outstanding participants during the training were given special recognition. These include Langson Masamba from Lengwe National Park, Princess Micheke from Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, Aaron Kamanga from Lengwe National Park, Twambi Chimimba from Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve, and Margret Khembo from Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve. Participants held a parade as part of the ceremony.

The SVTP is working in five protected areas of Majete and Mwabvi Wildlife Reserves, Lengwe National Park, Matandwe Forest Reserve, and the Elephant Marsh in an effort to improve the sustainable management and utilization of natural resources. The SVTP follows a natural resources management-based approach to complement agricultural development and commercialization to reduce pressure on natural resources in the Shire Valley.