Half of Nkhotakota Wild Life Reserve fenced

Nkhotakota, African Parks (AP), an international nongovernmental organisation entrusted by the Malawi Government to manage Nkhotakota Wild Life Reserve and Liwonde National Park, has fenced half of the wildlife reserve with electric wire since 2015.

Park Manager for AP, Samuel Kamoto, said on Thursday during the tour around the reserve, that fencing the reserve will reduce animal breakouts and at the same time increase wildlife protection.

He explained it has taken the organisation over US$3million (over MK2.2 billion) to fence part of the reserve which now covers a perimeter of 200 kilometres.

Animals in the reserve will now have a wide area since we will connect the sanctuary and the other fenced part to enable the animals access all the fenced area which increases the space to 77 000 hectares from the previous 19 000 hectares.

We expect to complete the fencing in the next two years since the fencing project has two more phases to go. This will, therefore, protect the animals and reduce breakouts, said the AP official.

He warned community members who reside and farm close to the perimeters to consider farming or living far from the reserve, saying they attract more animals outside the protected area because elephants are easily carried away by fruits and other crops cultivated around the areas.

He said game like elephants are expected to reach the maximum capacity in the next six years.

Currently, the area has about 600 elephants but the capacity of the reserve is 1500 elephants. We need to find means of controlling breakouts through introduction of family planning methods, predators and/or relocating them to other places in need of such breed, he said.

The AP Manager said they expect to attract more tourists into the district, let alone the country, with evidence to the US$10, 499 (about MK8m) they collected this year, comparing to MK300 000 the district collected in 2015.

District Commissioner for Kasungu, James Kanyangalazi, who was among the touring team applauded the community-upgrading element in the project, saying a lot of youth and families have benefited a lot from the AP’s projects.

So far, they have employed people around the communities, they are constructing different infrastructure like school blocks, roads and boreholes. They are also supporting secondary school learner’s education through payment of fees among many more, he said.

Apart from elephants, the reserve has warthogs, bush bucks, waterbucks, buffalos and zebras.

Nkhotakota Wild Life Reserve covers an area of 1800 square kilometres and it borders Nkhotakota, Ntchisi, Mzimba and Kasungu districts.

AP is a non-governmental organisation which signed an agreement with the Government of Malawi to restore the reserve in twenty years without making any profit.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA