Saturday 30 March 2019

Large scale elephant poaching is still alive and well

Customs officials at Da Nang’s Tien Sa Port in central Vietnam on Tuesday seized 9.12 tons of elephant tusks hidden in timber containers.

This is the biggest ivory seizure in recent years, police say. Preliminary investigations show that the containers were imported to Tien Sa from Congo, Africa. Last October, police and customs officials in Da Nang seized 10 tons of elephant tusks and pangolin scales trafficked from Nigeria to Tien Sa.

The seizure provides yet more evidence that organised criminal syndicates continue to exploit Vietnam as a hub for illegal wildlife trade ...

Vietnam outlawed ivory trade in 1992, but the country remains a top market for ivory products prized locally for decorative and medicinal purposes, according to conservation groups.

The country is also a busy thoroughfare for tusks trafficked from Africa destined for other parts of Asia, conservationists say. A report from the Environmental Investigation Agency, a London-based NGO, last year ranked Vietnam among the top 10 countries for ivory smuggling.

Wednesday 27 March 2019

Finally: justice for rhino paochers after 10 years

Three poachers are finally convicted of killing a rhino in KwaZulu-Natal: A magistrate lost his patience after a decade of delays -- prosecution and defence sources estimated that somewhere between 12 and 25 defence attorneys had been engaged and later dismissed by the accused.

One of the world's longest rhino poaching trials came to a swift and decisive conclusion on Monday, 25 March when a Durban magistrate lost patience after nearly 10 years of "deliberate and unreasonable delays" by three men who tried, but ultimately failed, to drag out their trial indefinitely.
Convicting all three poachers based on the "overwhelming evidence" placed before him, senior Regional Court Magistrate Logan Naidoo declared that it would have been a travesty to allow the three men to continue holding the justice system to ransom any longer.

The three men, Muntugokwakhe Khoza, 50, Ayanda Buthelezi, 40, and SANDF officer Mduduzi Xulu, 51, were arrested on 26 August, 2009, hours after a rhino was gunned down in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve -- the world cradle of white rhino conservation, where this species was brought back from the brink of extinction almost a century ago by the Natal Parks Board.