A group of people calling themselves ‘Concerned Citizens’ have asked the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to deploy additional game rangers to the Michiru Mountain Conservation Area to combat and stop the poaching and protect tourists.
In their letter, titled ‘Urgent Action Required to Halt Wanton Destruction and Poaching in Michiru Mountain Conservation Area’ the citizens lament the alarming situation unfolding in the conservation area over the past month.
“For the past month, Michiru Mountain Conservation Area has been subject to wanton destruction and rampant tree cutting, primarily for the production of charcoal. This illegal activity decimates our invaluable indigenous tree species and occurs along the tourist route to the peak of Michiru.
“Even more concerning is the brazen aggression exhibited by these poachers, who have not hesitated to block the trail with fallen trees; taunt and menace tourists attempting to enjoy this natural treasure.”
“Another concerning aspect of this issue is the fear instilled in our game rangers. They are too few in number to effectively combat the poachers, and their fear of being attacked has made it nearly impossible for them to accompany tourists.
“This not only endangers the lives of the rangers but also leaves the tourists vulnerable to harm. We kindly request the deployment of additional game rangers to Michiru Mountain Conservation Area to combat and stop the poaching and protect tourists,” reads the letter.
According to the grouping, the consequences of this unchecked exploitation are grave and far-reaching as indigenous trees play a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance, and losing them may lead to disastrous environmental effects, including increased flooding in lower-settled areas and the long-term degradation of the entire ecosystem.
They also fear that the degradation of Michiru’s natural beauty and the intimidation of tourists by the poachers may result in a decline in the number of visitors to the protected area, which may also lead to a significant loss of income and further degradation of the conservation area.
“As concerned citizens, we implore the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to take urgent and decisive action to address this dire situation,” reads in part the letter.
Further reads the letter: “Our inaction will undoubtedly result in the complete loss of the only protected area within Blantyre, with dire consequences for our environment and the well-being of both Malawians and the tourists, including church and school groups, who frequent Michiru.”
Standing 1,460 meters above sea level, Michiru Mountain is the only surviving protected area in Blantyre after Ndirande, Mpingwe, and Soche were destroyed in a similar pattern.