Thursday 11 September 2014

Six professional poachers arrested in Niassa

Six suspected poachers were arrested in Niassa (Mozambique) on 7 September 2014 in a joint operation conducted by the Mecula District police, Luwire scouts and Niassa National Reserve WCS scouts.The arrests were the result of a 10 month investigation.

12 tusks and two rifles were confiscated at the time of the arrest. Two of the largest tusks, 23 kilograms or 57 pounds each, were from an elephant about 40 years old.

Officials estimated that this group of poachers has killed 39 elephants this year alone based on interviews with the suspects. In addition, this arrest is a major crack down on one of five well-organised groups suspected of poaching elephants in Niassa. “This is an important raid that has shut down a group of poachers responsible for killing many of Niassa’s elephants” said Alastair Nelson, Director of the WCS Mozambique Program.

WCS President and CEO Cristian Samper, who is currently in Niassa, said: “With this arrest we have charged a shooter, porters and poacher informers who are driving the elephant crisis in Niassa Reserve."

There are thought to be about 13 000 elephants remaining in Niassa National Reserve which is in northern Mozambique. The reserve holds Mozambique’s largest remaining population of elephants. WCS has been co-managing the reserve with the Mozambique government since 2012.

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