In this Peace Parks TV episode, we take to the air for a promising new perspective on counter-poaching efforts and opportunities in Malawi’s Nyika National Park.
Park teams in Nyika are testing the effectiveness of a helicopter in counter-poaching operations, to establish whether it can enhance the protection of Nyika’s rich, dense forests and the prevention of illegal logging. These powerful advantages stem from helicopters’ unique abilities to enable top-notch surveillance, rapid responses, and a strong warning to those who might harm our environment. These benefits offer invaluable support and motivation to the dedicated rangers and tracker dogs at the frontlines of conservation.
Nyika’s Natural Treasures
Nyika National Park is renowned for its exceptional beauty, biodiversity, and natural resources. It’s desirability to poachers – particularly intent on deforestation to produce planks – is matched by stunning and surreal montane grasslands in the mist, rugged escarpments and rich woodland areas full of baobabs and miombo trees, all of which harbour precious species in need of protection. Forests are dense and roads lacking, making identifying crime hotspots, and apprehending poachers extremely challenging.
Eyes in the sky are showing immense potential in tackling these difficulties and in offering an improved level of protection to both landscape and wildlife. In addition to the strengths of aerial surveillance, exposure to helicopter operations drives vital training and hands-on experience for rangers, and access to the benefits of coordinated responses in combating wildlife crime. Last time, Lilian was affectionately introduced to the park’s Canine Anti-Poaching Unit; these dogs are a powerful motivation for bringing a helicopter into the picture.
Hand in Hand with Helicopters
Combining tracker dogs on the ground and aerial surveillance up high is much more effective than using either technique by itself. The doubled-up strategy is essential to swiftly, efficiently navigating the vast and inaccessible landscape, and safeguarding forests and wildlife. With this bird’s eye view, and paws on the ground, the Peace Parks teams can spot, trace and reach poaching hotspots deep in the trees safely by guiding the ground crew. Being able to stop illegal loggers in their tracks and protect this national treasure makes a strong case for a future which features helicopters in Nyika.
Visit peaceparks.org/parks/nyika-north-luangwa to explore the remarkable riches of this national park!