Mozambique has vowed to take a tougher stance on wildlife crime (Image : Fotolia 4856818)

Mozambique vows to tackle wildlife crime

1st September 2013

Mozambique has drastically increased their effort in tackling wildlife crime in a response to increasing pressure from conservation organisations

Neighbouring country South Africa, the international conservation community, and CITES have all put pressure on Mozambican government officials to toughen their stance against elephant and rhino poaching. For its lack of action against the crime, Mozambique was singled out at this year's international meeting of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species.

Outlining the country's response, Marcelino Foloma, Head of Mozambique's Wildlife Department and the Ministry of Agriculture, said: “Mozambique recognises the economic and security threats from trans-boundary criminal networks undertaking these activities, and the country is committed to finding solutions to these problems.”

Between 2009 and 2012, figures indicated that more than 2,500 elephants were lost, most of them to poaching. Figures for rhino survival are equally grim, as figures suggest that over 500 have been killed in South Africa so far this year, many allegedly by Mozambican poachers.

In a step towards combating the issue, TRAFFIC and the Mozambican National Directorate of Land and Forestry hosted a three-day workshop that was attended by several of the country's ministries including Tourism, Agriculture, Customs, Home Affairs, and Environmental Co-ordination. Serious defects in the current wildlife legislation were addressed in order to amend communication and participation between governmental institutions and civil society. Ways to share information regarding law enforcement and illegal wildlife trade were also established.

A series of identification materials were also supplied by TRAFFIC in order to assist Mozambique's law enforcement community to identify contraband wildlife products. These include ivory, lion bone, rhino horn, pangolins, and several protected timber species.

Tom Milken, rhino and elephant co-ordinator at TRAFFIC, attended the workshop and said: “This is the first time Mozambique's law enforcement community is equipped with species identification materials in their own language. It's critical that these valuable tools are available to fight increasing wildlife crime."

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