(Lilongwe, Malawi – July 4, 2022) Following a first meeting in Amboseli, Kenya in December 2021, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) convened a second gathering of traditional leaders, this time in Lilongwe, Malawi. The leaders came together to voice the importance of their involvement in the process of protecting key landscapes that allow animals and people to thrive together.
Traditional leaders and communities have a voice in conservation, but this network strives to implement policies that affect the lives of people living with wildlife. Their involvement is integral to long-term success of conservation efforts and the development of sustainable solutions.
The network aims to create an influential platform for traditional leaders and communities to spearhead coexistence, conservation and wildlife protection efforts in the context of IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative.
The gathering, hosted by Senior Chief Felix Lukwa of Kasungu, Malawi, was attended by:
- Chief Siphoso, Alphius Msindazi of Tsholotsho community in Zimbabwe
- Chairman Daniel Leturesh of the Olgulului-Ololarashi GR Amboseli, Kenya
- Princess Nikiwe Pauline Bam, South Africa
- Chieftainess Mwanya Grace Banda, Zambia
- Chieftainess Mwasemphangwe, Laecia Phiri, Zambia
- Chief Lesoma B. Lesoma, Botswana
- Aaron Gono District Development Coordinator, Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe
- Jimmy Phiri District Commissioner, Lumezi District, Zambia
- Seitisho Philadelphia Ramutla, AYIL, South Africa
- Koikai Oloitiptip, Amboseli Ecosystem Trust, Kenya
“Landscapes are increasingly fragmented, disrupting free movement of elephants and other wildlife, leading to more frequent human-wildlife conflict,” said Azzedine Downes, IFAW President & CEO, who led the gathering.
“Traditional leaders are the custodians of nature and wildlife outside of protected areas, and are the driving force behind reclamation of wildlife corridors and development of alternative livelihoods. At the same time, they express the challenges communities face due to living with wildlife, like damaged harvests and killing of livestock,” said Senior Chief Felix Lukwa of Kasungu, Malawi.
“Only together can we find solutions that allow animals and people to thrive together. IFAW is committed to leading this process where traditional leaders and communities are at the forefront of our planning as we advance IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative to protect key landscapes across East and Southern Africa,” said Azzedine Downes.
Note to editors:
IFAW’s Room to Roam initiative is a new and visionary approach to conservation in Africa. Backed by 20 years of science and fieldwork, Room to Roam aims to ensure viable, stable, resilient elephant populations long into the future—and with little to no human interference. Through connectivity and secure habitats, we envision safe passages for elephants and other wildlife to move freely within their home range of East and Southern Africa. This brings greater biodiversity, a natural resilience to climate change and a future where animals and communities can coexist and thrive.
About IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare): IFAW is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at ifaw.org.
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