Manager for Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve Sam Kamoto said Malawi as a country has lost a lot of leopards, jaguars and cheetahs who are in the family of wild cats leaving a lot of game and wildlife reserves without these predatory animals.
Themed Big Cat: predator under threat, Kamoto said these animals form a larger part of the game that is found in these reserves hence the need to protect them and preserve their existence.
“Predators seem to be going extinct in our reserves. Take an example of the reserve we are standing in right now. Nkhotakota reserve was home to many lions but as of now, we do not have a single lion at the moment. This may also seem true for other reserves in the country. They have become endangered species and if we are not carefully, we may not have lions at all in these game reserves,” explained Kamoto.
He added that poaching is one of the many reasons why these wild cats are going extinct saying communities surrounding the area use them for cultural and traditional beliefs.
“There are beliefs that the power that these animals possess are transferred onto people that use their skin or blood. You find people killing these animals just for their blood which is a big loss to wildlife. We are still running sensitization campaigns on the dangers of killing these animals but we cannot say that the battle has been won,” Kamoto explained.
Vice chairperson for Nkhotakota District Council Gaziel Chimzere concurred with Kamoto and said the battle cannot be fought by one person or organisation hence the need to intensify these campaigns and induce national action in saving wildlife.
World Wildlife Day is celebrated on 3 March each year.