Majete maintained its remarkable track record of not having lost a single rhino or elephant to poaching since their respective reintroductions in 2003 and 2006. Keeping these iconic species safe altogether with the other general wildlife in the park requires a robust law enforcement strategy, which we enhance through monthly refresher training for all law enforcement staff. Majete was selected as one of two Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) sites in Malawi, the other being Kasungu National Park, and we collaborated with the DNPW to satisfy project requirements.
The primary tool in the fight against poaching is well-equipped, well-motivated and well-trained rangers. An established informer network also provides reliable and actionable intelligence. This approach is proving to be more than sufficient in terms of deflecting and deterring the threat of poaching.
Even though Majete is a relatively small reserve, it is still a difficult wilderness area to patrol, which is why community engagement plays such a significant role in law enforcement, particularly regarding providing tip-offs and intelligence.
By ensuring staff are equipped with all the necessary technology – from GPS units and radios to the latest software for planning and capturing important field data – the level of illegal hunting in the reserve has been greatly reduced. In 2019, our law enforcement team of 41 individuals carried out 5,677 patrol man days resulting in 13 arrests for wildlife crime and nine convictions. A maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment with hard labour was handed down to a poacher in possession of ivory from a Majete elephant that died of natural causes.
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