Elephants, crocodiles kill 7 persons in Malawi

New managers, at the African Parks, say they will fence Liwonde National Park in Malawi, following the deaths of three poachers and four other persons through encounters with crocodiles and elephants.


MalawiElephants and crocodiles have killed seven people in the past two months in one of the Malawian National Parks, its new managers have revealed as they prepare to fence in the wildlife.

African Parks, a Johannesburg-based wildlife NGO, said three poachers were among those killed in and around Liwonde National Park, one of the country’s most celebrated tourist attractions in its southern section.

One was killed by an elephant and the other two by crocodiles, while another poacher lost his arm to one of the reptiles, it said.

ElevantTwo other people died after coming into contact with elephants raiding nearby crops, and another two when they encountered crocodiles outside of the park.

Recently, flooding caused widespread crop damage in the impoverished southern African country and prompted its president Peter Mutharika to appeal last week to the international community for food aid during the UN General Assembly in New York.

As a result, competition for food between Malawians and wildlife is fierce, and have caused many deaths in recent years.

There are currently no perimeter fences to contain elephants and prevent them from raiding adjacent farms. 

Peter Fearnhead, the Chief Executive of the African Parks, which was asked to take over the running of the park last month, said the level of human-wildlife conflict in Liwonde was “almost unprecedented”.

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“There are two primary causes of the current conflict: the absence of any perimeter fence to contain elephants and prevent them from raiding adjacent farms, and the illegal entry by numerous individuals on a daily basis wanting to harvest the parks resources,” he said.

“Solving this conflict is extremely urgent for both the communities living around Liwonde and the wildlife within the park.”

African Parks has embarked on an ambitious plan to fence the entire 80-mile perimetre of the park which they estimate will take 18 months to complete.

The group has also launched elephant patrols to push the pachyderms back into the protected area and prevent raids on crops.

Anti-poaching patrols and community education projects also aim to protect the wildlife, following the deaths of two elephants in the park.

downloadAfrican Parks was also involved with the reintroduction into Rwanda of the first pride of lions since the 1994 genocide.


The lowdown on lion hunting

The weapons: Lion hunting using firearms and a bow and arrow is legal in Zimbabwe and other countries nearby, but only in certain circumstances.
The permits: Hunting is only legal with specific permits, granted by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and hunting companies bid for these annually.
The animals: Only animals that have been put on an annual hunting quota by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management are permissible.
The area: Hunting is allowed within a private hunting concession, in communal hunting areas, and government-controlled safari areas, but never in a national park.
The loopholes: Hunters have been known to lure lions out of the boundary of their protected area and bow hunting can also be used by those hunting illegally, or unethically, say Zimbabwean conservationists, because it is silent.
Was Cecil’s killing legal?
The Zimbabwean Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said: “Both the professional hunter and land owner had no permit or quota to justify the offtake of the lion and therefore are liable for the illegal hunt.”
“But the hunter, Dr Walter Palmer, has insisted he thought he was on a legal hunt,”.

SOURCE: The Telegraph, UK

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