Monday 25 July 2016

Kenya: Ivory smuggling Kingpin gets 20 years in jail

After more than 2 years of  twists and turns, Feisal Mohammed Ali was sentenced to 20 years in jail by a Mombasa law court for posession of  2 tons of ivory worth 44 million shillings.

The Kenya Wildlife Service issued a statement saying "The guilty verdict is a strong message to all networks of poaching gangs, ivory smugglers, financiers, middlemen and shippers that Kenya will not watch as its elephant population is decimated or its territory used as a conduit for traffickers."

About time a top man was successfully prosecuted. That the case was never quietly dropped was largely thanks to the efforts of the NGO WildlifeDirect, who ensured that it was kept high profile and that justice was not corrupted, despite various irregularities on the way.

The defence is expected to appeal against the sentence so it's not quite all over yet.

Power to the Kenyan people who are now realizing that wildlife is not only their heritage, but also an irreplaceable treasure, job creator and foreign currency earner.

Friday 22 July 2016

Massive shipment of pangolin scales intercepted in Hong Kong

Hong Kong officials have intercepted 259 bags of pangolin scales weighing 7 tons. It is the biggest seizure in the last five years and was worth around $1.8 million. The scales were found after a routine search and were labeled as recycled plastic particles. They had transited from Nigeria.

Last month another shipment of 4.4 tons of scales was found originating from Cameroon and was also listed as plastic.

Pangolins are also known as scaly anteaters. There are eight species found in Asia and Africa but hunting has largely wiped them out in Asia and now the African species are being decimated. The scales are used in ridiculous Chinese medicine and they are also considered a delicacy.

They have incredibly long tongues - as long as their bodies - which they use to mop up ants with. They are said to be the World's most trafficked mammal.

Although they are widespread in the wild it is still considered a real privilige to actually see one. In all my travels I have yet to get lucky.

Thursday 21 July 2016

Vietnam is becoming the new centre for illegal ivory processing

A new report from Save the Elephants found that the amount of ivory items on sale in Vietnam has risen by 600% since 2008.

The majority of the tusks are smuggled in from Africa whereas back in 2008 they tended to come from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The old loophole that it is 'old' ivory obtained pre 1992 is being used to get away with it. That and the usual problems of weak pusuance of the law, pathetic customs control, and corruption are allowing the maket to expand as China slowly, ever so slowly, shuts down its ivory trade.

Most of the ivory is sold to guess who - Chinese tourists.

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Tanzania police arrest 9 people in connection with ivory smuggling

Dar es Salaam — Police in collaboration with Interpol in Southern and Eastern zones have arrested nine people in possession of 1.2 tonnes of ivory with a value of Sh4.6 billion. These are part of a group of 256 people being held for various crimes including human trafficking, drug abuse, illegal migration, trading in minerals, possession of firearms and vehicles.

Code-named 'Operation Usalama III', the operation was part of the wider mission of eradicating crime.

 The operation was a by-product of a two-day meeting held in Matola, Mozambique, between May 26-27, by 27 member countries of the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation (SARPCCO) and Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Co-operation Organization (EAPCCO).