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|Title:||The status of poaching, its impacts and food security as a contributing factor in Lake Chilwa biosphere reserve, Malawi.|
|Keywords:||Status of poaching|
|Abstract:||The pressure on the wildlife in Lake Chilwa Biosphere Reserve (LCBR) has been increasing due to increase in population, illegal and unsustainable hunting practices. This has become a threat to sustainability of fish, birds and other wildlife species in LCBR. The broad objective of this study was to assess the status of poaching, its impacts and food security as one of the key drivers in LCBR in Malawi. The study employed a social survey research design. One hundred households were sampled using systematic random sampling from the area within LCBR. The households were 45 from Zomba, 21 and 34 Phalombe and Machinga districts respectively. Questionaires and focused group discussions were used to collect primary data. Secondary data was collected from Fisheries and Agriculture departments and Biosphere reserve manager. Descriptive statistics, trends and regression were used to analyse the data. The results from the study indicate that poaching in LCBR exist and its level is high as indicated by 61.3% of respondents and <5% of tools licensed annually. The main drivers of poaching are poverty as indicated by 35.4% of the respondents, food insecurity 32.1%, population growth 17.5% and low level of education and unemployment 2.5% and 1.7% respectively. Poaching is causing the decline in fish catches, reduction in composition of both birds and fish species and size of fish caught. There is also reduction in peoples’ income in the area as well as increase in malnutrition cases due to lack of cheap protein sources. The anti-poaching strategies currently in place include patrols, intelligence led operations, participatory resource management and policy based management. The results also indicate that people perceive conservation as important for sustenance of fish production and income base for the community, avoid species extinction and attract tourists. It is therefore recommended that LCBR`s core zone be further gazetted as a protected area to ensure that the current threats from poaching are minimized. The Malawi government should put up policy framework that will create a good environment for small businesses to thrive to improve the livelihoods to divert communities focus from extraction of resources from the biosphere reserve and a deliberate policy framework must be enacted to provide for sustainable alternatives protein sources.|
|Appears in Collections:||Faculty of Environment and Resource Development|
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