Protection of wildlife and nature is a core function that supports economic growth through opportunities found in key sectors that survive on biodiversity, says President Arthur Peter Mutharika.

He was speaking on Thursday at Kamuzu Palace when he launched a video on poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

“I believe that protection of wildlife needs to be a priority for my Government. We know the stakes if we do not do so: We will lose the wildlife species and biodiversity, and also lose opportunities for economic development through tourism and the associated impacts on agriculture and human health,” he said.

The President said he did not hesitate to feature in the video when he was approached because he understand how key the combating of wildlife crime is to any functioning governance system.

The video dwells much on protection of elephants but the message still cuts across the whole spectrum.

“If we cannot save one of Africa’s most iconic species from extinction, then what hope do we have for the rest of our wildlife? Whilst we are focusing on elephants and the illegal ivory trade today, let us remember that our own survival as humankind is based on our ability to protect our natural heritage. That is protecting everything from the most majestic of animals such as elephants and rhinos, through to the forests, birds and insects. The future of wildlife is in our hands, and indeed our own future depends on it too,” he said.

The development comes weeks after Malawi caught world attention when she burnt illegal ivory worth K5 billion, a gesture that got global recommendation and enhanced President Mutharika’s and his government’s resolve in the fight.

The Malawi leader warned all who commit wildlife crime telling them that under his leadership they don’t have liberty of action.

“My government is working hard to combat wildlife crime. We are adapting to the growing threat by strengthening laws, improving our law enforcement and increasing our inter-agency and cross-border cooperation, among so many other strategies,” he said.

He further urged media houses, government departments, non state organizations and all Malawians to help spread the message and bring awareness to the public to get involved in the fight.

The video initiative has been facilitated by diplomatic missions in conjunction with Lilongwe Wildlife Trust.

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