This figure shows the ratio of area protected to maintain biological diversity. Malawi’s aquatic resources of over 1 000 fish species, which make up almost 15 per cent of global freshwater fish biodiversity, are under threat from water pollution and overfishing. Lake Malawi contains more unique fish species than any other lake in the world, and more than 90 per cent are endemic (CBD 2007), mainly from the family Cichlidae. The Shire River basin also has high species richness. There are 117 species in Lake Malawi assessed as vulnerable due to highly restricted distribution, in some cases these species may be restricted to a section of rocky shore of less than a few hundred metres in length. Such species are assessed as vulnerable due to risks that may eliminate entire populations given their highly restricted ranges (IUCN 2011). Malawi is also rich in biodiversity of birdlife, and the major wildlife groups of mammals, reptiles and amphibians are represented, but the number of threatened species recorded almost doubled between 1996 and 2003, to 41 (IUCN 2006).
From collection: Zambezi River Basin - Atlas of the changing Environment