Wednesday 28 March 2018

Grace Mugabe investigated for ivory smuggling

The former first lady of Zimbabwe, Grace Mugabe, is suspected by wildlife officials to have smuggled ivory worth millions of dollars.

Mrs Mugabe faced accusations on Sunday that she had taken ivory from the country's stockpiles during her time as first lady and illegally sent pieces as gifts to high-profile individuals in the Middle East and Asia.

According to the Sunday Mail newspaper report, Grace Mugabe also demanded that officials grant her a permit to export millions of dollars worth of ivory to leaders to various countries, despite Zimbabwe imposing a general ban on ivory trading.

"Once outside Zimbabwe, the 'gifts' would be pooled together with other consignments of the product and routed to black markets," it said.

Zimbabwe has also suffered from serious poaching in recent years. Around 400 elephants died of cyanide poisoning in Hwange, Zimbabwe's biggest national park, between 2013 and 2015. Cyanide is easily obtained because of its use in the mining industry, and the poisonings continue. Often a waterhole is poisoned, which indiscriminately kills everythnig that drinks there. Sometimes fruits such as watermelons are laced and then when large game such as elephants eat them they die.

A serious knock on effect is that hundreds of vultures are often killed when they feed on a carcass.

Monday 12 March 2018

Over 100 Vultures Poisoned in Mozambique

A 62-year-old poacher has been arrested in the district of Moamba in Southern Mozambique for deliberately poisoning at least 104 vultures thought to be an endangered species. Found in possession of two elephant tusks and a flask of the poison, Nelson Machel confessed to poisoning the vultures, but denied killing the three elephants found at Mbashene.

Several species of vultures were killed. According to the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), 80 were white-backed vultures (Gyps Africanus) and 17 were hooded vultures (Necrosyrtes monachus), both of which are endangered

white-backed vulture

Friday 9 March 2018

Major seizure of Pangolin scales in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Customs on Wednesday (March 7) seized about 2,800 kilograms of suspected pangolin scales with an estimated market value of about $3.3 million from a container at the Tsing Yi Cargo Examination Compound.

Through risk assessment, customs officers inspected a 40-foot container declared to contain metal scraps arriving in Hong Kong from Nigeria. Upon inspection, Customs officers found the suspected pangolin scales in the container.

Thursday 1 March 2018

Ivory poachers arrested near the Okavango Delta in Botswana

Three Zambian nationals together with two Batswana young men were last weekend arrested by police acting on a tip-off for alleged unlawful possession of elephant tusks near Tsau village.

The suspects, 41-year-old Samson Chaima of Livingstone, 24-year-old Stephen Mukwemba of Lusaka and 37-year-old Cletus Kamwale of Livingstone and locals 23-year-old Onthusitse Mothusiemang and 18-year-old Kelebogile Tonkole both from Nokaneng village have since been remanded in custody.

The accused persons who were on Tuesday arraigned before the Maun Magistrate’s Court are alleged to have been found with 11 elephant tusks at Setata Veterinary gate.

The tusks were reportedly retrieved from a Mitsubishi vehicle they were traveling in from Gumare towards Sehitwa.

Inevitable that poaching cases in Botswana and Southern Africa will escalate as East Africa's herds are depleted. Bushmeat poaching is also on the increase.