289 dead and 300 Mozambicans arrested for poaching in Africa

Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:23 pm

More than half of those arrested for hunting of rhinos in 2012 are Mozambicans. From 2008 to February 11, 2013, 289 were killed and 300 Mozambicans arrested for hunting of rhinos in South African parks.
The data in our possession are clear : 589 Mozambican citizens fell into the hands of South African authorities - killed and arrested - as a result of poaching of rhinos. Of this number, 279 were killed and the remaining 300 were arrested during the period 2008 until 11 February 2013.

289 moçambicanos mortos e 300 detidos por caça furtiva em África

Mais de metade dos detidos por caça de rinocerontes em 2012 são moçambicanos. De 2008 a 11 de Fevereiro de 2013, foram mortos 289 moçambicanos e 300 detidos por caça de rinocerontes nos parques sul-africanos.
Os dados em nosso poder são claros: 589 cidadãos moçambicanos caíram nas mãos das autoridades sul-africanas – entre mortos e detidos – em consequência de caça furtiva de rinocerontes. Deste número, 279 foram mortos e os restantes 300 foram detidos no período de 2008 até 11 de Fevereiro de 2013.

Analisando os dados, verifica-se que há cada vez mais moçambicanos que se dedicam à caça de rinocerontes nos parques sul-africanos, nomeadamente Kruger Park, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, entre outros. O crescimento de caçadores furtivos acaba reflectindo-se também no crescimento do número de mortos e detidos e do número de rinocerontes mortos para a posterior extracção de corno, para a venda no mercado. Os vietnamitas e chineses são os maiores compradores do produto para efeito medicinal.

Só no ano passado, mais de metade dos caçadores furtivos detidos na África do Sul eram moçambicanos. isto é, de um total de 246 caçadores neutralizados, 132 eram de nacionalidade moçambicana. Em 2010, o número de moçambicanos detidos era muito superior comparativamente aos dois últimos anos. Só para elucidar, em 2010 foram detidos apenas 35 moçambicanos, de um total de 165 neutralizados nos parques sul-africanos. Este número viria a registar um substancial crescimento em 2011, tendo atingido 101 detidos, de um número global de 232 furtivos detidos.

O nosso jornal sabe que igualmente foram recuperadas 14 armas de fogo, oito de tipo Mauser 458 e 375, e seis AKM nos últimos três anos, a maioria das quais eram retidas do Comando Distrital de Massingir (ver edição do jornal O País de 8 de Agosto de 2012).

Por outro lado, o número de rinocerontes que são abatidos anualmente tem vindo a crescer. A título de exemplo, em 2007 foram apenas mortos 13 animais. No ano seguinte, o número viria a atingir 83 e em 2009 teriam sido abatidos 122 rinocerontes. Este número foi crescendo a cada ano que passa. Em 2010, o número de rinocerontes abatidos pelos caçadores furtivos subiu para 333 rinocerontes e em 2011 foram 448 rinocerontes mortos por caçadores furtivos. No ano passado, foram 588 rinocerontes. Feitas as contas, de 2007 a esta parte foram caçados pouco mais de 1 587 rinocerontes.

Dos 588 rinocerontes abatidos em 2012, 362 foram no Kruger Park, 52 na Província de Limpopo, 75 em North West, e 59 em KwaZulu-Natal. 27 rinocerontes foram mortos em Mpumalanga, província vizinha de Moçambique, e os restantes noutros parques.

Custo e utilidade dos cornos

A caça furtiva de rinoceronte era uma actividade quase desconhecida pelos moçambicanos. Mas a procura de cornos pelos chineses, vietnamitas e iemenitas mediante ofertas aliciantes criou condições para que crescesse a caça aos mesmos. Os valores envolvidos variam. Em Moçambique, um corno chega a custar mais de dois milhões de meticais (mais de 75 mil dólares americanos). Ao nível da África do Sul, 1 kg de corno custa 500 mil randes, cerca de 1.750.000 MT.

Um documentário contundente, produzido por uma equipa liderada por Dan Rather, jornalista da televisão americana de HDNet e exibido nos Estados Unidos e no Canadá, no ano passado, revelava a extensão do comércio do corno de rinoceronte no Vietname e como ela está alimentar uma crise de caça ilegal de rinoceronte na África Austral.

Re: 289 dead and 300 Mozambicans arrested for poaching in Af

Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:26 pm

Hundreds of Mozambicans involved in rhino poaching

Over the past five years the South African authorities have killed 279 Mozambicans involved in the illegal hunting of rhinoceros, according to figures published on Tuesday by the independent daily “O Pais”.

A further 300 Mozambicans were detained for rhino poaching between 2008 and the end of 2012, the paper added, citing official Mozambican and South African sources.

The numbers show that 48 Mozambican poachers were killed in 2008, 62 in 2009, 48 in 2010, 71 in 2011 and 52 in 2012. So far this year (up to 11 February) a further eight Mozambican poachers were shot dead.

The number of Mozambicans detained by the South African forces rose from 10 in 2008, to 22 in 2009, 35 in 2010, 101 in 2011 and 132 in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, the total number of poachers detained, of all nationalities, was 478 – so Mozambicans accounted for almost 50 per cent of all poachers arrested in those two years.

But the number of South African rhinos killed by the poaching gangs has continued to rise alarmingly, from 13 in 2007, to 83 in 2008, 122 in 2009, 333 in 2010, 448 on 2011 and 588 in 2012. At this pace, rhinos are threatened with extinction.

For the Mozambican government the most worrying aspect is the involvement of members of the defence and security forces in the slaughter of rhinos. One of the Mozambicans shot dead, Gerson Chauque, was a member of the Frontier Guard. Another Frontier Guard turned poacher, Bento Pequenino, was shot in the abdomen on 22 November 2011, and is currently under detention in South Africa.

The most recent shoot-out was on 11 February, when South African forces clashed with a group of eight Mozambican poachers in the Kruger Park and shot seven of them dead. The one who survived, named only as Sergio, is currently under medical care at the Massingir District Hospital in Gaza province. He is a member of the Mozambique Armed Forces (FADM).

Another of the dead Mozambican poachers, Silva Ngovene, used a Mauser 458 gun in his poaching forays. At one point the Frontier Guard captured this gun from a group of poachers on the Mozambican side of the border, and deposited it in the Massingir District Police Command. Yet this gun was taken from the command in mid-November last year, and ended up in the hands of a poacher known as Vembane, who was killed by South African troops in the Kruger Park on 8 January.

According to “O Pais”, it was the head of operations in the district command who gave the gun to Vembane and to a certain Mahetabanha, a self-proclaimed “prophet”, who “blessed” poachers so that they would not be killed or imprisoned. No doubt Vembane was well known to the Massingir police because he worked in a Massingir bakery, just a few metres from the police command.

“O Pais” also claims that one of the Frontier Guard commanders who did fight against the poaching rings, Fernando Manjate, has recently been relieved of his duties, along with his entire investigating team.

The paper adds that the national commander of the Frontier Guard has declined to speak to its reporters.

The poaching is driven by demand for rhino horn in Asia, particularly Vietnam and China, where prices can reach 65,000 US dollars for a kilo of horn. This means that rhino horn is now more valuable than gold – an ounce of gold sells for about 1,609 dollars, while an ounce of rhino horn is worth over 1,840 dollars.

Such extraordinary sums are paid because charlatans, peddling what they call “traditional Chinese medicine”, claim that rhino horns will cure everything from demonic possession to cancer.

In fact, rhino horns are made of keratin, the same protein found in hair, nails and scales throughout the animal kingdom, including human hair and fingernails. If rhino horn can cure cancer, then so can biting your fingernails.

Re: 289 dead and 300 Mozambicans arrested for poaching in Af

Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:59 pm

Moz authorities are not renowned for keeping records regarding their own arrests, never mind any other poaching activities.

I would take this with a pinch of salt.

But many are killed more and more lately, perhaps understandably, as ....

Well, draw your own conclusions...a delicate subject indeed.

The Role of Mozambique in Rhino Poaching

Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:21 am

Mbombela - Rhino-poaching is not part of Mozambican culture, says Mozambique Consul to Limpopo and Mpumalanga, Arthur Verissimo.

Verissimo was responding to concerns from the Kruger National Park that Mozambique was not seriously addressing the involvement of its own citizens in the poaching crisis that has crippled the national park.

“People cross the border all the time. These poachers are committing a crime (despite the fact that) we have security measures at the border.... It is not in our culture to poach rhino," Verissmo told African Eye News Service on Friday.

He admitted that some of the poachers come from Mozambique and said that some were even killed in the park.
He also conceded that there is no poaching in Mozambique "because people poach rhino in the Kruger National Park".

Kruger officials raised their concerns during a media tour in the park this past week.
They said that in order for the escalating rhino crisis in South Africa to be reversed, a multitude of problems in Mozambique need to be addressed.

“The root cause of poaching is high demand from Asia, but also at the core of the problem lie numerous issues in Mozambique,” said retired army Major General Johan Jooste, who is now the Kruger’s anti-poaching co-ordinator.

According to Jooste, the poaching crisis revolves around economic problems, an “unlimited recruitment” of foot soldiers and lawlessness which makes the country a safe haven for poachers.

Andrew Desmet, section ranger in the Shilowa region of the park, a known hotspot for infiltrations from Mozambique, said that Mozambican authorities did not have the same harsh attitude towards rhino poaching as South Africa did.
“There is a lot of corruption involved, even at the highest levels. In Mozambique, rangers themselves are often the people who kill rhino,” said Desmet.

Desmet added that legal differences between the two countries were also a major factor.
“Rhino poaching in Mozambique is viewed more as a misdemeanour and is often punishable with just a fine. Poachers can get into more trouble for carrying illegal firearms than for using those firearms to kill rhino,” he said. “I have hardly ever heard of arrests of rhino poachers being made there.”

Robin Hood

Kruger head of conservation Dr Freek Venter said that poachers are seen as “Robin Hood types” figures in their local villages.
“We apprehended a poacher last year and he told us that the whole community had come out to welcome him back with his rhino horns,” said Venter.

Villages close to the South African border are the main abodes for the hundreds of rhino poachers who infiltrate the park yearly.
Venter, who conducted a tour of some of these villages in late 2012, said that residents did not want the poaching to stop.
“Poachers drive the economy of these villages. They bring prosperity to these areas in a very poor country and therefore naturally villagers do not want them to stop,” he said.

Venter added that this situation made the problem of rhino poaching a “socio-political issue” and one which simply made anti-poaching strategies that much harder.

In addition, said Desmet, neutralising poachers simply increases demand for rhino horn.

“With one less poacher, rhino horn becomes less freely available, so naturally demand in Mozambique increases,” Desmet stated. “With such odds stacked against us, it is very difficult for us to eliminate the poaching.”

Jooste is of the opinion that the situation in Mozambique desperately needed to improve.

“It is essential that we improve the situation in Mozambique in order to make progress in this war. We need to form strong alliances with their authorities and address the root causes of greed and poverty,” he said. - African Eye News Service

Re: Mozambique easy on rhino poachers - KNP

Tue Apr 16, 2013 2:01 pm

Bordering on ‘war’

April 16 2013 at 12:14pm

It’s astonishing how long it has taken South Africa to focus on the obvious fact that much – maybe most – rhino poaching is emanating from our neighbour, Mozambique.

Last week, Major-General Johan Jooste, who heads the joint military, police and game ranger operations to counter poachers in Kruger National Park, described the influx of poachers from Mozambique in dramatic, military terms as an “insurgency” requiring a “counter-insurgency” to stop it.

It seems several villages near the border have become dedicated to poaching as their livelihood. It has become a border industry.

Of the 36 suspected poachers caught in the park this year, 30 were Mozambicans. Eleven of the 36 were killed in gun battles with South African security agencies.

South Africa is sending the dead Mozambicans back home, evidently causing great resentment there and accusations that South Africa cares more about animals than people.

To many Mozambicans, evidently including the government, rhino poaching is a development issue, not a conservation issue. It is supporting many poor people.

The Mozambique government’s unhappiness became apparent last week when South African National Parks (SANParks) took journalists to the border to illustrate the problem. They were supposed to cross the border, but the Mozambican government wouldn’t allow them in.

Now SANParks is considering re-erecting the fence that was dismantled years ago along part of the international border with Mozambique in the Kruger National Park to create the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park which straddles the two countries.

Conservationists say any rhino that strays from the park into Mozambique is dead meat.

Refencing the border would, of course, kill the transfrontier park.

There has clearly been a great failure by Mozambique to play its part in sustaining the park or in curtailing poaching in Kruger.

That is self-destructive behaviour at the least, because, properly managed and developed, the Great Limpopo Park could have become – perhaps still could become – a major tourist drawcard for Mozambique.

Rhino poaching has already frayed relations between the two countries and is becoming an ever larger issue.

Yet there are no signs that Pretoria has taken it up at the highest level with Maputo, to persuade the government of Mozambique to tackle the problem and no doubt to help it do so – perhaps with some form of development assistance for the border villagers.

It seems to have been left to South African army officers and rangers to convey implicit diplomatic “messages” to Mozambique in the grisly form of dead poachers returned to their villages.

This rather recalls the way our relations with the Central African Republic (CAR) were left in the hands of the military. A foreign diplomat in Bangui recently remarked how strange it was that South Africa had had military trainers in the country since 2007 – but no embassy.

The lack of eyes and ears on the ground probably led to Pretoria misreading the political situation, leaving our soldiers high and dry without proper support when the Seleka rebels moved to topple president François Bozize three weeks ago.

The SANDF lost 13 soldiers trying to stop them.

Tony Leon, who has recently returned as ambassador to Argentina, has also remarked on this absence of an embassy in the CAR and suggested it meant our foreign policy was becoming militarised, as it was under PW Botha.

Perhaps. But it seems more likely that the Department of International Relations and Co-operation is simply not asserting its professional expertise and independence against a presidency that is pursuing its own agenda.

Our relations with Mozambique are guided by lofty ideals framed in such institutions as the Southern African Development Community.

But foreign policy is also about dealing promptly and decisively with the realities on the ground – like rhino poaching.

Mozambique easy on rhino poachers - KNP

Tue Apr 16, 2013 3:07 pm

Toko wrote:The Mozambique government’s unhappiness became apparent last week when South African National Parks (SANParks) took journalists to the border to illustrate the problem. They were supposed to cross the border, but the Mozambican government wouldn’t allow them.

:-? Do the poacher's ask permission to cross the border? 0*\ 0*\

Re: Rhino Poaching 2013

Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:54 pm

Richprins wrote:
I don't think people understand the enormity of the size of the SP/ .gov stockpile! :shock:

The population and therefore the market in those eastern countries is also totally under estimated RP, we're talking about tens of millions of people. The numbers are mind boggeling.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2013

Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:54 pm

On the trail of rhino killers across the border
By Shaun Smillie

... The economic effects of rhino poaching filter through the small towns of Mozambique that border Kruger National Park.
IT IS THE black hole from where poachers launch forays into the Kruger National Park with impunity.
And this is the place where they find sanctuary, have little fear of arrest, and, if caught, are often just given a slap on the wrist.
That black hole is Mozambique, where, along the border with South Africa, communities are prospering on the proceeds of rhino horn. Towns have sprung up, and industries supporting the illegal trade in rhino horn have emerged.
In these towns, poachers operate openly. They live large, and, at times, hide from South African authorities.
This is the part of the rhino war about which both local law enforcement authorities and academics admit they know little.
Some of these anti-poachers operate without guns while others mount daily and nightly patrols, tirelessly trying to plug a border that, for long stretches, does not have a standing fence.
They have become the first line of defence for Kruger’s rhinos.
Recently, The Star travelled up to this remote part of Mozambique and witnessed what is going on along the border.
Starting today, until Thursday, we will be running a three-part series that will examine the heart of South Africa’s rhino problem, about which few know, or have seen. YOU CAN’T find this town on Google Earth, and it appears on no maps. From space all it is is a scatter of buildings that straddle the only tar road that cuts through this remote part of western Mozambique.
The place is known as Kabok and for a town that appears to have nothing, it sure is going through an economic boom.
And from a dirt track we could see Kabok’s new-found wealth firsthand. What we were looking at was Kabok’s millionaires’ row, where the untouchables live.
“This is a rhino town,” explains the anti-poaching officer who is acting as our guide. He wants to remain anonymous. On the tar road, a red hatchback speeds past, the driver’s head snaps to the side and takes a good look at us. We have been noticed.
“He is a poacher,” says the anti-poaching officer.
Two minutes later, the red car drives past in the opposite direction; he eyeballs us again.
Others along the tar road stare too. The poachers, pointed out by the officer, stand out. Their style of dress says city, their clothes are bright and clean, they sport new jeans, some have neck chains.
No faded paper-thin cotton shirts, like the rest of Kabok wears.
They loiter around spaza shops, they swagger.
But we are here to see millionaires’ row. In front of us, dotted on a slight rise, are Kabok’s mansions – the houses the rhino poachers built for themselves.
In neighbouring South Africa, these mansions would be called matchboxes. Most are flat-roofed, single-storeyed structures. Some look similar to RDP houses. But what separates these homes from the usual reed houses in Kabok is that they are made from brick.
This part of Mozambique is dirt poor and the remnants of the civil war scar the landscape and the psyche of the people. War amputees wander the dirt roads.
The new Kabok has been built on the horns of the hundreds of rhinos slaughtered just kilometres away in Kruger National Park. It is not alone – there are other towns spread along the border that lines Kruger National Park. They are the staging posts for rhino poachers.
“That house there with the pink curtains – he is a poacher,” says the officer. “You see that white house there, that poacher was shot dead, but his family still lives there.”
There was a time when the bordering Corumana Dam supplied the community with its main source of income – fishing. Now, under the silvery full moon, fishermen ferry poachers across the lake, rowing them up the Sabie River and dropping them close to the Kruger fence.
In South Africa Kabok has long had the reputation of being a haven for robbers and hijackers who take refuge across the border.
Rhino economics filters through the town, the anti-poaching officer explains. Everyone gets a piece of the pie, builders are paid to construct those houses. Spaza shops have sprung up, some built with rhino money. The funeral industry, it appears, gets its cut too. Then there are the guns for hire. “There are those who come from Maputo to hire people in Kabok to poach,” explains the officer.
And the majority of residents in the Kabok mansions have become middlemen. They now recruit younger men to do their hunting.
We drive along the dirt road, we turn a corner and there is the red hatchback. The driver is standing next to three other men at a spaza shop. Again he stares, but this time smiles and waves at the anti-poaching officer. The officer waves back. They know each other.
There is little the officer can do to catch this untouchable. We drive on.
On the outskirts of the town we park and watch. The sun has slipped behind the wall of the Corumana Dam, and in the late afternoon light herders drive their cattle along the tar road into town. A black Landcruiser glides past. “That man there is wanted in South Africa and now stays in Mozambique,” says the officer. “He is a poacher.” We later learn that the man in the Landcruiser is Frank Ubisi.
For two years he was wanted by the SAPS, Captain Oubaas Coetzer, the spokesman for Skukuza police station, tells us later. He was caught in Kruger in 2010 with a hunting rifle, but later escaped from custody.
Last February he was caught at the Lebombo border post trying to smuggle the body of a poacher across the border. He paid a fine of R10 000 for possession of an illegal firearm and was deported to Mozambique. Ubisi’s Landcruiser draws to a stop outside a collection of reed shacks alongside the road.
The door opens and a man, perhaps in his late teens, struggles out.
His T-shirt is stained with mud, his hair coated in dust. He limps slowly to one of the shacks, opens the door and disappears. I am flabbergasted. “He is a poacher, he has come back from Kruger,” I say.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2013

Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:22 pm

Yup! That is how they roll, Penny! Have you got a link?

Unfortunately, very few are willing to assist in exposing them in Moz. a major problem. Also, experienced Moz. poachers are rented out accross SA by the syndicates. Make no mistake, they rely HEAVILY on SA contacts within parks. No secret.

Or denial, for that matter.

Re: Rhino Poaching 2013

Tue Apr 23, 2013 6:34 pm

Another, even more disturbing fact, is that the Mozambican Military are looking after them as well. O/