By Ida Kazembe
Rampant deforestation in the country is leading to extinction of birds and bats due to loss of habitat, experts say.
Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM)’s chairperson Tiwonge Gawa Thursday told Malawi News Agency (Mana) in Blantyre that some local bird species are becoming nonexistent.
“If no action is taken, the country may lose the entire treasure,” Gawa said.
To save the situation, WESM in conjunction with Bats Without Borders (BAWB), an organization working for the better survival of bats globally, has embarked on empowering key stakeholders that handle the endangered species such as game rangers.
On Thursday BAWB equipped Michiru Sanctuary Game Rangers with detailed knowledge of how best to handle birds and bats for continued existence.
The sanctuary’s manager Anthony Chikwemba said the training was timely as the wildlife and nature reserve site has plans to start charging a small entry fee for visitors to ably finance the place’s operations.
He said the place at times receives visitors who solely come for birds and bats hence the need to protect them from extinction.
“Michiru sanctuary only has over 200 species of birds roaming around the place which need protection so this training is timely and important,” Chikwemba said.
BAWB’s Conservation Scientist Rachael Cooper Bahannan said the training would ensure that the game rangers are acquainted with ecological and biological aspects of bats and birds for preservation of the remaining species.
Malawi has over 650 bird and 80 bat species that have high tourist attraction potential for the country’s economic gains if nurtured.