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ILLEGAL MINING THREATENS NKHOTAKOTA GAME RESERVE

By Wanangwa Tembo MANA

African Parks has bemoaned the increasing illegal mining activities in Nkhotakota game reserve saying the practice is a threat to both wildlife conservation efforts and the tourism sector at large.

David Nangoma

Parks Manager for Nkhotakota game reserve David Nangoma revealed during a joint liaison committee meeting in Kasungu on Monday that over 600 illegal mining incidents were reported last year with the police effecting 119 arrests.

He said the miners are targeting gold deposits in Bua river which snakes through the park hence endangering a number of wildlife species including fish.

According to Nangoma, park authorities have also managed to confiscate planks and at least four muzzle loaders and 118 rounds of ammunition from poachers.

District Commissioner (DC) for Nkhotakota Ben Tohno thanked African Parks for supporting the meeting which brought together DCs, chiefs, police officers and other stakeholders and aimed at streamlining efforts on how to best conserve the game reserve.
He said the reserve is part of the several tourist attraction sites that would help Nkhotakota achieve its vision to become a tourism city.

Sitting on 1 800 square kilometres, the country’s oldest and largest game reserve was home to over 1 500 elephants but the population plummeted to less than 100 in 2015, forcing authorities to translocate a herd of 500 elephants from Liwonde and Majete in 2017.

Through conservation works, African Parks has also brought in 850 different species of animals to improve on animal sightings and attract more tourists.

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