An inspector in the Zambia Police Service and eight other suspected poachers have been arrested for illegally being in possession of Government trophy amounting to more than US$100 million.
ZAWA Board chairperson Guy Robinson said 27kg of elephant ivory tusks worth US$140 million suspected to have been poached were intercepted at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport after an attempt to illegally export them to China.
Mr Robinson said the ZAWA anti-poaching patrol under the Western command arrested the suspects and confiscated 2 AK47 rifles with 32 rounds of ammunition, 6 pieces of elephant ivory tusks, 3 elephant tails, 915kg of dried game meat, 2 bicycles and 29kg of dried warthog meat.
Speaking during the official signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the African Wildlife Foundation conservation project in Lusaka yesterday, Mr Robinson said stiff measures should be implemented to conserve wildlife. He said senior wildlife police officers in collaboration with the Zambia Police Service and Zambia Army would work together to determine the sources of the crime and bring the alleged perpetrators to book.
|Fast facts about the Elephant poaching:|
|The 27kg’s of Ivory tusks worth||US$140 million|
|Where they were intercepted||Kenneth Kaunda International Airport|
|What was confiscated by ZAWA||2 rifles, 32 rounds of ammunition, 6 pieces of ivory tusks, 3 elephants tails, 915 kg’s of dried game meat, 2 bicycles, 29 kg’s of dried warthog meat|
|Adult elephants shoulder height||4 meters (male), 3.5 meters (female)|
|Adult weight||6 000 kg’s (male), 4 000 kg’s (female)|
|Single tusk weight||25 – 45 kg’s|
“With a great sense of frustration, the increasing involvement of public officers allegedly found committing wildlife and related economic crimes whilst using Government transport to conceal their activities is a source of concern. Our patrols are on the increase and our staff of wildlife police officers will be empowered to inspect vehicles suspected to be conveying Government trophy contraband,” Mr Robinson said.
From the period January to April 2013, ZAWA conducted 2,675 law enforcement operations which resulted in 56,047 patrol man-days. Mr Robinson urged men and women in the uniformed forces to work with ZAWA to eradicate the abuse of ammunition sourced from official stocks. (Source: Times of Zambia)
Reacting to the upturn in poaching in Zambia, DSWF has supported the setting up of a Special Anti-Poaching Unit within ZAWA. The crack unit is located in the centre of Kafue National Park and is made up of two rapid deployment teams geared up to respond to any call-outs or poaching incidents across the 64,000 square km wildlife reserve. Part of their remit is the cleaning up of known poaching hot spots.
After a recent tip off the team found themselves at the receiving end of a barrage of gun-fire before successfully taking the poachers’ position and securing their contraband which included five lengths of freshly removed ivory.
This devastating discovery represents the death of three elephants, one a massive bull.
Find out more about DSWF’s other projects here.
From: David Shepherd
Date: 30 May 2013