Africa

Army Malawi Deployment 'Incredibly Important' In Poaching Fight

British personnel will give anti-poaching training to rangers in the country.

The Defence Secretary said the deployment of troops to Malawi to give anti-poaching training is "so incredibly important", as he met the personnel who will be carrying out the teaching.

The Army will deploy to two national parks in the African nation, where they will work with rangers teaching them techniques including intelligence, tracking and medical skills.

The deployment was first announced in February.

A training team of more than 20 troops from several Army units will spend weeks passing on skills developed during tours of countries such as Afghanistan.

It doubles the number of rangers mentored by British soldiers to 120.

Over the past year several year forces personnel have worked in Gabon in the west of Africa and Malawi in east Africa to help park rangers improve their tracking of poachers.

The Defence Secretary met personnel at West Midlands Safari Park, as preparations ahead of the deployment continue.

Gavin Williamson said:

"This is a £17 billion trade of the illegal wildlife trade - a lot of that money goes into areas such as terrorism and other forms of criminal acitvity.

"What we can do to support African nations to deal with this is so incredibly important."

'Army's support incredibly important' - Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson.

When it was put to the Defence Secretary that military intervention of this kind is criticised by some, he said:

"Where we've done it already it's been incredibly welcomed, and actually the locals have seen what a difference it can make in terms of helping and supporting them.

"Wildlife tourism is growing so rapidly in Africa, so they realise the true value that can be offered by making sure that these animals are kept safe."

Major James Cowen, leading the deployment in Malawi, said:

"We’re enthusiastic about this mission because it represents a real opportunity to pass on our expertise and build partnerships with counterparts who are working night and day to help protect these animals."

See how British Army veterans have been working with anti-poaching units in South Africa on the front line in the war on poaching: