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On Monday July 6th, Mozambique will destroy the 1,160kg of ivory and 53 rhino horns that were recently seized
This will be the first major destruction of seized rhino horn
This burn marks a turning point in the struggle to protected threatened wildlife and natural resources
Mozambique is implementing several measures to crack down on wildlife trafficking
MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE (July 4, 2015) – Mozambique’s National Conservation Areas Authority (ANAC) today announced a plan to destroy a recently seized stockpile of ivory and rhino horn. This will happen on Monday 6th July in Maputo.
The ivory and rhino horn were apprehended in a raid on a house in Matola on 12th May 2015. 65 rhino horns weighing 124kg, and 340 elephant tusks weighing 1,160kg were seized. This was the largest ever seizure of rhino horn. A Chinese national was arrested.
On 22 May 2015 twelve of these rhino horns were stolen from the police warehouse, prompting the President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyussi, to remark “When policemen are caught in the gangs trafficking in rhinoceros horns, elephant tusks, and various drugs, or facilitate these same crimes, I am unable to sleep.”
At least four policemen have been arrested in connection with this theft and a senior Provincial police commander has been implicated in local press.
The plan to destroy the ivory and rhino horn follows the recent news of a 48% decline (from 20,000 to 10,300) in the past five years in Mozambique’s elephant population. This is due to poaching driven by organised crime. The decline was documented by surveys undertaken by the government and WCS as part of a larger effort known as the Great Elephant Census ®. In Mozambique this was funded by Paul G. Allen, USAID, and WCS.
“This event demonstrates the Republic's commitment to protecting its natural resources, and its zero-tolerance to poaching, trafficking and to the organised criminals behind this” said Dr Bartolomeu Soto, the Director-General of ANAC.
“Mozambique is making a stand by destroying this seizure ivory and rhino horn. Recent efforts show real commitment to tackle wildlife crime , associated corruption and organised crime gangs. WCS and the Government are working hand-in-hand to combat poaching and strengthen law enforcement. This type of leadership just made our jobs easier” said Alastair Nelson, Mozambique Country Director for WCS.
WCS and the Government of Mozambique co-manage Niassa National Reserve in the far north of the country – the recent survey shows that 7,500 elephant have been poached here in the last three years.
In response to this widespread criminal activity, the Minister for Land, Environment and Rural Development (Minister Celso Correia) has declared that tackling ivory poaching and rhino horn trafficking is a major priority for his new ministry, and, together with other ministries, is taking the following measures to combat this rampant criminal activity:
· Focusing on implementing the new law and bringing poachers and traffickers to justice:
· Deploying the new Mozambican environmental police unit to work with ANAC scouts to implement the law and stop poaching and illegal logging
· Developing intelligence-led law enforcement capability, and improving training, equipping and leadership of protected-area scouts, including establishing specialist units that are properly equipped and armed
· Strengthening partnerships with international organizations
· Working with WCS and Stop Ivory to inventory ivory stocks and implement a transparent stock management system
· Mozambique signed an MoU with Tanzania on 25 May 2015, and with South Africa in 2014, to strengthen cross-border collaboration to tackle poaching and trafficking
MISSION: WCS conserves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. In Mozambique WCS partners closely with government to strengthen law enforcement and protected area management across the national protected areas network. WCS co-manages Niassa National Reserve with ANAC, the National Administration of Conservation Areas, and uses lessons learned to strengthen the national system. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/niassareserve Follow: @WCSMozambique
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.
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