British forces at Liwonde National Park, Malawi
British troops will deploy to two national parks in Malawi, in order to counter poaching.
Deployments to Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves will begin in May, following a successful pilot scheme in Liwonde National Park.
It doubles the number of rangers mentored by British soldiers to 120.
The Liwonde scheme took place alongside the conservation non-profit African Parks, meaning that 120 rangers have now been mentored by British troops.
The initiative is aimed at tackling a global conservation crisis causing the loss of countless species.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“Poaching is a horrific and cruel trade that is putting the very existence of this planet’s most majestic wildlife in jeopardy.
“Our brave Armed Forces are the best in the world and are playing their part in putting an end to this sickening and illegal industry, to protect these magnificent mammals.
“By providing training and mentoring to the park rangers, they will form a skilled network to ensure that the world’s precious species are here for generations to come.”
Under the guidance of British Army troops, African Parks rangers will be trained in tracking, infantry skills, bushcraft and information analysis to improve the interception of poachers.
The threat of poaching is worth around £7 billion to £17 billion year.
Liwonde Park Manager, Craig Reid, said:
“The MOD deployment to Liwonde in 2017 was very beneficial to the African Parks effort in securing the integrity of this park which was once overrun with poaching.
“The soldiers helped mentor the Rangers as part of the long-term project aimed at ensuring a sustainable law enforcement effort.
Brighton Kumchedwa, Director of National Parks and Wildlife, said:
"We are really pleased that the British Army will be returning to Malawi to work in partnership with the Malawian authorities and African Parks on counter-poaching activities."