Zimbabwe: Elephant and Rhino Poaching

Foreign syndicates stay out of line of fire

Feb 27, 2011 12:11 AM | By VLADIMIR MZACA


Locals were the highest number of poachers arrested in Zimbabwe, with 125 of them arrested last year out of a total of 144, according to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

"Among the accused were 125 Zimbabweans, seven Zambians, three Congolese, three South Africans and six Botswana nationals," reads the statement.

Recently there have been reports that foreigners – South Africans in particular – are allegedly involved in poaching activities in Zimbabwe.

Lungton Masunda, chairman of the Gwayi Conservancy in Matabeleland North, argues that the number of locals involved is high because they know the geography and animal demographics, hence they are used as the hit men.

"Foreigners are obviously involved at a large scale. The locals are just used to kill and transport their loot. The foreigners control the syndicates from afar and they are hardly in the forefront. If they get directly involved, they face stiff prison terms, so therefore they use locals who are desperate to make quick money," he says.

Because of the involvement of international syndicates in wildlife crime, the authority constantly liaises with wildlife management authorities and organisations in its quest to improve wildlife law enforcement.

The wildlife authority is training community-based game rangers in an effort to curb poaching. As a result of this , poaching went down by 49% last year in relation to animals such as elephants, rhinos, lions and zebras.

"We want to make it mandatory for every farm to have a minimum of five anti-poaching employees. These will be registered under the main anti-poaching team in Gwayi. We will also do community awareness campaigns to share the message of a shared resource," Masunda said.

Matabeleland North is a hotbed for poachers who hunt down elephants. Last year, the elephant was the most poached animal.

"Eighty-two cases involving the poaching of elephants, rhinos and other game are being investigated from last year," according to Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife.

Some of the cases from last year are still under investigation while the rest are at different stages of finalisation.

One hundred and eighteen elephant tusks and an assortment of ivory artefacts weighing more than 368kg were recovered, including four rhino horns. Thirty-two rifles, mainly AK47s, FNs and .303 calibre hunting rifles, were recovered. In addition, 226 rounds of ammunition were recovered from poachers since January last year.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority employ a number of strategies in combating wildlife crimes apart from its own efforts.

The authority hails the relationship that exists between itself and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Judiciary and Minerals Unit. The judiciary and prosecution play an important role in the handling of wildlife crime dockets.

The authority has carried joint investigations and deployments at the country’s border post, as well as at major airports with the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s border control units.

Source: www.timeslive.co.za/sundaytimes/article937211.ece/Locals-prey-upon-own-wildlife

Press release – IFAW: Rampant elephant poaching leaves a bloody stain in the Congo Basin

(London – February 21st, 2011) – Elephant poaching continues to spiral out of control in Chad. Twenty elephants have been killed in just over the last two weeks for their ivory and there are concerns that more carcasses may yet be found.

All have been killed outside of protected areas, where they are vulnerable targets. The reports come from St̩phanie Vergniault, President of SOS Elephants of Chad. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW Рwww.ifaw.org) condemns violence against humans and animals and calls on the European Union to take action to support African countries like Chad which are asking for help to save these endangered animals.

Five of the elephants were killed in the area of Mayo Lemié (near Nanguigoto) and the remaining 15 were killed in the Logone area of southern Chad. The lucrative illegal trade in ivory continues to kill thousands of elephants in Africa every year. „Press release – IFAW: Rampant elephant poaching leaves a bloody stain in the Congo Basin“ weiterlesen

Congo arrests Chinese ivory poacher

BRAZZAVILLE — Officials in Congo were on Sunday holding a Chinese national as he tried to smuggle 10 kilos (22 pounds) of ivory — including five large elephant tusks — out of Congo, a wildlife group said.

The 35-year old was arrested Saturday at Maya-Maya airport, in the capital Brazzaville, said Naftali Honig, coordinator of the Project to Apply the Law on Fauna (PALF).

Officials found five large elephant tusks, 80 ivory chopsticks, several hankos, or Chinese name seals, three 3 ivory carvings and many small ivory items, he added.

He was taking a flight bound for Beijing.

The Congolese paramilitary gendarmerie are holding the suspect, who faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the attempt to smuggle the wildlife artefacts.

"We vowed to help the government of Congo send a zero tolerance message to ivory traffickers, and as you can see this message is in action," said Honig.

Earlier this month five African poachers trafficking endangered species were arrested and put behind bars in Gabon.

On that occasion, officials seized 13 heads and 32 hands of apes, 12 panther hides, a lion hide, five elephant tails and numerous hides of other less endangered species, according to another wildlife group there.

It was the biggest ever seizure conducted in Africa concerning apes, according to Gabon’s AALF, known by its French acronym for Support for the Application of the Wildlife Act.

Copyright -© 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

 

Source: www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gHCgL2xsB82_9h6865_M5_hUEddQ?docId=CNG.4f8b988b9ebd1a5c9a9eba1574013bc8.eb1

Kenia: Wilderer in Amboseli gefasst!

Ein großer Erfolg der vom berühmten Fotografen Nick Brandt ins Leben gerufenen BIG LIFE FOUNDATION zusammen mit dem KWS (der kenianischen Wildschutzbehörde): Die seit 20 Jahren agierende Wilderer – Gruppe, die viele Tiere in Amboseli, der angrenzenden Region und Tansania gewildert hat, ist dank dieser Organisationen endlich gefasst worden! Congratulations!!!
Der Bericht ist in englisch verfasst:

BIG LIFE BRINGS DOWN LEADER OF AMBOSELI’S WORST POACHING GANG, ELEPHANT KILLER FOR TWO DECADES

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Foto: Nick Brandt, Big Life Rangers and Newly-Purchased Vehicles, December 2010

For twenty years, one poacher and his gang in Tanzania have been systematically poaching many of the Amboseli region’s elephants. The authorities have never been able to catch him. But thanks to Big Life & KWS, his poaching days are now over:
Seven weeks ago, I reported a continued escalation in poaching, another eight elephants killed in the Amboseli area alone in just 16 days. This included the old bull called Magna, whose broken tusks were so small, it showed that no elephant was safe from the poachers‘ bullets and poison.
Based on a tip-off from one of Big Life’s informers, Kenya Wildlife Service successfully intercepted the poaching gang responsible for the killing of Magna and many other elephants in the Amboseli ecosystem and Tanzania over the last twenty years. A firefight had ensued, during which two of the poachers were killed, but the leader of the poaching gang escaped with wounds over the border back into Tanzania.
The Kenyan authorities were not able to communicate as quickly as necessary with the authorities in Tanzania. At this point, Big Life’s strategy – of coordinated teamwork between our teams in Kenya and Tanzania – came into play. The Big Life team in Tanzania WAS able to respond, and immediately:
Critical information from one of Big Life’s informers in Kenya was passed on to the team in Tanzania from Honeyguide Foundation, our partner there. They were able to track down the gang leader, and with the help our network of informers there, followed him for a number of days. At the appropriate, safe moment, the Big Life/Honeyguide team brought in the Tanzanian police, who made the arrest. The gang leader now awaits extradition to Kenya, where he should receive a long prison sentence.
This poacher and his gang have been organizing and killing elephants for TWENTY YEARS, including what must be many of the elephants photographed in my books. But the authorities were never able to pin anything on him. Within three months of being established, Big Life has succeeded in breaking up the worst of the three main poaching gangs operating along the Amboseli region Kenya/Tanzania border.
This great success could not have been possible without the generosity of our donors who helped us purchase critical vehicles and equipment, hire anti-poaching teams, and develop our network of informers and associates.
Things are also going well with the capture of other poachers: In both Kenya and Tanzania in recent separate incidents, several poachers with newly-killed giraffe meat were arrested by Big Life rangers on night patrols.
As a result of Big Life’s efforts, there have been ZERO reports of any elephants being killed on either the Kenyan or Tanzanian sides of the border in the last six weeks. We have quickly sent out a strong, effective message to poachers that killing wildlife now carries a much greater risk of being arrested.
Of course, Big Life has invested a large amount of money establishing its teams in order to make a difference fast. We have achieved that goal, and we know our work is having an impact. However,there are still over two million acres to protect in the Amboseli ecosystem, and we have a long way to go financially to achieve SUSTAINABLE operations in both countries across this area.
To achieve our mission, Big Life must build and man a significant number of additional anti-poaching camps, with accompanying patrol vehicles and equipment. Our goal is a total of 160 rangers and scouts in 18 camps across the ecosystem. We are about halfway to that goal, and can get there with your help.
We’re not just attempting to protect the elephants, but also the diminishing populations of lions, giraffes, zebra and other plains animals also being hunted by the poachers. We may have brought down the most active of the three gangs operating along the Kenya-Tanzanian border of Amboseli, but there are the other two known gangs there, and all the other poachers operating in the other areas of this vast region. While the demand for ivory and all the other animal parts remain, there will be many who cannot resist the fast, easy profits to be made out of killing these irreplaceable creatures. With your help, we will be there to stop them, and allow the animals to flourish in peace once again.

Quelle: www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&ref=mb#!/photo.php?fbid=193207187357638&set=a.178446792167011.43792.154399394571751

Kenya: Chinese man sentenced for ivory possession

A Chinese man was sentenced Wednesday by a Kenyan court to eight months in prison or a fine of around 600 dollars (440 euros) for illegal possession of 65 kilos (143 pounds) of ivory.

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Chinese national Wang Zheng (R) attends the Makadara Law Courts in Nairobi

Wang Zheng, 29, was also convicted of failing to inform the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) of his cargo when he was arrested at Nairobi airport on Monday night and of dealing in game trophies without a licence.

Wang on Tuesday admitted to illegal possession of 12 tusks and 278 pieces of carved ivory he valued at 4,300 dollars (3,200 euros) when he was arrested on arrival from Democratic Republic of Congo.

KWS earlier said that Wang tried to offer a 200-dollar bribe to its officers when he was arrested.

Kenya has in recent months arrested several people trying to smuggle ivory through the main Nairobi international airport as well as suspected poachers caught with huge amounts.

The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants is driven by Asian and Middle Eastern demand for the tusks used in traditional medicines and ornaments.

Source: www.kbc.co.ke/news.asp?nid=68490