Written by  Bernard Kankhono

Deforestation and lack of sustainable use of natural resources is putting in danger some of Malawi’s rare species of animals. The news comes following rediscovery of a rare species of chameleon called Chapman Pygmy.


Environmental Education Manager at Wildlife Society of Malawi (WESM) Edward Bonongwe says the said species of chameleon is important to the country as it helps to balance up the ecosystem.

Chapman’s pygmy chameleon was first discovered in Malawi in 1992 by researchers from South African University and rediscovered in 2016.

The specie which was discovered at Mabungwa and Mwanaphwere Hills in Nsanje district is currently feared to be at the verge of extinction due to the deforestation of the two hills.

Over 80 percent of forests in the two hills where pygmy chameleon habits have been destroyed for agricultural and timber activities.

According to Bonongwe, there is a need to collaborate and protect this rare species of chameleon which is only found in Malawi.

As one way of controlling deforestation in the areas around Mabungwa and Mwanaphwere areas, WESM has introduced bee keeping initiative to economically empower the people in the two areas. This will also help in preserving the wild animals including the Chapman’s pygmy chameleon.

Malawi has 8 species of chameleons, of which seven of them are common spices.

A 2014 assessment of the world's chameleons found that 36 percent of the world's chameleons are threatened with extinction.

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