By bringing together local communities, private sector and governments in Malawi and Zambia, we’re saving the local transboundary elephant population.
Seventy-six percent of African elephants live in habitats that cross national borders. In these areas, poachers can kill elephants for their tusks and then avoid law enforcement by escaping from one country to another.
Along the border of Malawi and Zambia—home to three of the most stunning national parks in Southern Africa: Kasungu, Lukusuzi and Luambe—this challenge is particularly severe. After hunting elephants in Malawi or Zambia, poachers can easily cross the border into either one of the countries, where respective government officials no longer have the authority to arrest them.
The result is that elephant populations in the area have plummeted. Twenty-five years ago, there were around 1,000 elephants in Kasungu National Park. Today, there are only 70.
IFAW worked with government officials in both countries to develop law enforcement focused on a transboundary landscape conservation area that covers all three parks.
Now, if elephant poachers cross the border fleeing rangers from Malawi, rangers from Zambia are already waiting for them on the other side, and vice versa.
Many people become poachers because they have limited economic alternatives. So, we’ve worked with local communities to create job opportunities that directly and indirectly protect elephants.
Instead of hunting elephants, people can now join ranger training programs, maintain park vehicles, or sew ranger uniforms.
Before anti-poaching units were established in Kasungu, four to five elephants were killed in the park every month. After the units were established, there was only one incident of elephant poaching between December 2015 and February 2017.
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