Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Wed May 29, 2013 7:49 pm

Court case verdict reveals true scale of 2011’s “Annus horribilis” for African Elephants

Friday, May 24, 2013 at 12:40

Fujian Province, China, 24th May 2013—The sentencing of three men in Fujian Province for their role in smuggling ivory to China from Africa has provided new insights into the scale and nature of the global illicit ivory trade in 2011, already the worst year on record.

According to Chinese media reports, three men have been convicted for their role in the smuggling operations and received jail sentences of between 7 and 15 years.

Over a six month period in 2011, one of those convicted, identified as Chen, was responsible for smuggling a total of 7.7 tonnes of ivory—representing an estimated 819 elephants—from Africa to China. At the time, Chen, from Putian City, managed authorized legal ivory retail outlets in Shanghai and Xiamen, Fujian Province.

“This is the first example of the conviction of an accredited ivory industry insider for systematically attempting to launder illegal ivory into the legal marketplace on a grand scale,” said Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s ivory trade expert.

“The magnitude of these seizures is a shocking blow to the integrity of China’s legal ivory trade system and demonstrates the need for an independent audit to be carried out.”

According to media reports, Chen paid large sums of money to an accomplice named He to misdeclare the contents of the ivory shipments to Customs. He, who was sentenced to 7 years in jail, and Chen were both arrested in late August 2011.

Chen was said to have purchased ivory from a third defendant named Zhao. Zhao was also arrested and sentenced to 15 years in jail. Two other suspects were named as sellers of ivory consignments to Chen.

Chen’s ivory, sent in five batches—two shipments from Kenya, two from Tanzania and one from Nigeria over a six-month period of time—comprised a total of 2154 whole elephant tusks or segments. All of these consignments were seized following their arrival in China.

Data on ivory seizures worldwide are compiled through the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), which TRAFFIC manages on behalf of Parties to CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

These seizures had not previously been officially reported to ETIS and brings the total weight of ivory seized in 2011 to a staggering 46.5 tonnes, a figure 2.5 times the average of 18.6 tonnes for the period 1996–2011. The previous worst year on record was 32.7 tonnes in 2009, which was preceded by the lowest annual total of 6.8 tonnes in 2008.

“2011 was already the worst year for the volume of ivory seized since records were first compiled in 1989, but this new information puts the annual total into the astronomic zone,” said Milliken.

The case appears to mark a major breakthrough by authorities in China in the clampdown on criminal syndicates behind the illegal smuggling of ivory to the country and raises a number of important questions as to the mode of operation of ivory smuggling to China.

In particular, this case demonstrates that Chinese dealers are able to source ivory in Africa rapidly, with the ability to orchestrate successive large-scale illegal ivory flows out of Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

“Authorities in China are to be congratulated for this breakthrough, but must endeavour to follow up on every possible lead to ensure this ivory supply line between Africa to China is well and truly severed,” said Milliken.

Source: http://www.traffic.org/home/2013/5/24/c ... rribi.html

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Wed May 29, 2013 8:44 pm

In particular, this case demonstrates that Chinese dealers are able to source ivory in Africa rapidly, with the ability to orchestrate successive large-scale illegal ivory flows out of Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.

More so, those countries have large development input from China, and SA is not far behind.

Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Zambia should feature largely regarding the "annus horribilus" of 2012...

Thanks, vinkie!

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Fri May 31, 2013 2:42 pm

Kenya significantly increases fines and jail time for poachers
May 30, 2013

With a booming demand for rhino horns and ivory in recent years, poaching wildlife in Africa has become devastatingly lucrative business. This year in Kenya alone, some 21 rhinos and 117 elephants have been butchered to feed that demand, their parts fetching a high price on the black markets of Asia.

But now, in a step to counter the illicit incentives of illegal hunting, the Kenyan parliament this week approved to significantly increase the penalties for poachers caught robbing the nation's most precious natural heritage for their own financial gain.

Poachers can now expect to face fines up to $120,000, along with jail sentences of 15 years. Prior to the measure, the legal consequences of poaching seemed rather paltry, resulting in fines of $480 and 2 years in jail.

"Kenya's elephants declined from 160,000 in 1960s to 16,000 in 1989 due to poaching. Today Kenya is home to only 38,500 elephants and 1,025 rhinos," said MP Chachu Ganya on the parliament floor. "These animals are a major tourism attraction and anyone who threatens them is committing economic sabotage and should be treated as such."

Increasing the penalties for poachers is just one of the measures Kenya has taken recently to curb the practice and protect wildlife. In addition to security forces assigned to patrol wildlife reserves, aerial drones fit with infrared thermal imagining devices are also being deployed to monitor parks from overhead, particularly a night when poachers are most active.

Sadly, despite ongoing efforts to reduce poaching, the problem has hardly quelled as rhinos and elephants across Africa have been pushed either to extinction, or alarmingly close. It may be too soon to tell whether Kenya's harsher penalties will prove an effective deterrent, but it certainly is a step in the right direction and hopefully a model for other nations to follow.

Via Mongabay

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:29 am

DR Congolese poaching kingpin and warlord arrested with 12 elephant tusks

http://africanenvironmentalpolice.blogs ... l?spref=fb
10 June 2013

Jean Marie Mabamza, a Congolese man believed to be a ring-leader of an elephant poaching gang that targeted Gabon's Mwagna National Park has been arrested in a joint operation by Gabon and Congo authorities. Marie Mabamza, the ring-leader of a large network of poachers, was arrested on Congolese territory when he came to collect ivory and weapons from his fighters. At the time of his arrest, Jean Marie Mabamza was in possession of 12 ivory tusks, two military weapons and a quantity of ammunition. During questioning by the authorities, the defendant admitted that his employees hunted in a nearby Gabon reserve. The arrest of Jean Marie Mabamza is the result of some strong cooperation that is increasingly taking place between officials of Gabon and Congo. The Mwagna National Park and bai (Forest clearing) is sacred to the pygmies a haven forest elephants, monkeys, forest hogs, bongo antelopes, sitatungas and duikers.

Source: Wildlife Extra

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:51 am

Chad: Suspect held for poaching
2013-06-18 15:28

N'djamena - Authorities in Chad have arrested a suspected member of a poaching gang accused of slaughtering nearly 200 elephants and killing five Cameroonian park rangers, the environment minister said on Tuesday.

Rising demand for ivory among Asia's newly affluent classes has led to a rise in poaching by well-armed, highly organised criminal gangs that take advantage o Central Africa's security void to prey upon the region's forest elephants.

Idriss Hassan was transporting 124 elephant tusks when he was arrested in the village of Gore, near the border with neighbouring Central African Republic.

"Idriss Hassan has operated since 2011 in the Salamat and Guera regions and near the borders between Chad, Cameroon and Central African Republic," Environment Minister Mahamat Issa Halikimi said in a statement published on Tuesday.

The ministry accuses Hassan of belonging to a gang responsible for killing 149 elephants in August 2012 and January this year. The group is also accused of poaching 40 elephants and killing the five rangers in Cameroon.

The government equipped its park wardens with new vehicles and weapons after the January killings in Chad and Halikimi said it now planned to open an observation centre and telephone hotline for reporting poaching.

In a report last month, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that elephant poaching was a growing security concern, particularly in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad and Gabon.

He told the UN Security Council that poachers were using powerful weapons, some of which may be left over from the civil war in Libya, and ivory sales were a potential source of funding for groups including Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army.

The United Nations Environment Programme said this year that more African elephants are being illegally slaughtered for their ivory than are being born each year.

- Reuters

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Tue Jun 25, 2013 4:52 pm

Elephant poaching in Congo

WWF hails efforts to end elephant poaching in Congo – Two elephant poachers were arrested early this month as the authorities in Congo stepped up the war against the crime, the Ministry of Forestry has announced.

The ministry said on Sunday said 28 persons had since January this year been arrested in the country in connection with crimes related to poaching of elephants.

Late last month, several international NGOs including WWF raised the alarm in Congo about the increasing rate of elephant poaching in the region and their heads of State called for intensification of measures to fight the poachers.

WWF hailed the efforts to safeguard the elephant population and urged the Congolese authorities to try the two suspects as early as possible.

David Ntazam, one of those arrested who is a teacher of French, Geography and History in the north-western town of Souanke, had 25 kilos of ivory and two automatic weapons on him.

His accomplice, Mempimo Oscar, was also arrested but two others on the run.

The town of Souanke is located in the area where the national parks of Dja in Cameroon, Odzala in Congo and Minkebe in Gabon are situated.

In 2012 the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) deplored the killing of at least 5,000 elephants in five years around the Nouabale Ndoki Park in Sangha.

Pana 23/06/2013

Three seized on suspicion of planning poaching expedition

Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:08 pm

Three seized on suspicion of planning poaching expedition

Posted Tuesday, July 30 2013 at 23:30

Police in Narok on Tuesday arrested three people who are suspected to have been on their way to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve to poach game.

One of the suspects is a former Kenya Wildlife Service ranger while another is of Somali origin.
Mara District Officer Samuel Mbuto said the men were arrested at a lodge at Sikinani trading centre after police were tipped-off by the owner that some armed people had booked a room.
Mr Mbuto said the men had a firearm, an axe, two hacksaws and night vision binoculars.
He said Administration Police officers and Narok county rangers raided the lodge and arrested them.

“The three checked in on Friday and asked for services at the bar and butchery but they never left the room. We raided the place after a tip-off,” said Mr Mbuto.

The former KWS ranger was sacked after he was arrested for poaching elephants in the world famous reserve.

“The former KWS officer jumped bond in a Nanyuki court and is under a warrant of arrest,” said Mr Mbuto.

The arrest comes as stakeholders in the wildlife sector are calling on the Government to sanction joint anti-poaching operations with other law enforcement agencies and the public in places like the Maasai Mara Game and conservancies surrounding it.

The concerns came as KWS officials announced that 162 elephants and 21 rhinos have been killed in the last seven months.

Kenya has 38,000 elephants, the fourth largest population in the world after Botswana, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.

Source: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/Three-seized-on-suspicion-of-planning-poaching-expedition/-/1056/1932278/-/a0yx72z/-/index.html

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Thu Aug 08, 2013 6:54 pm

Responsible for the slaughter of 10 000 elephants…. facing one year in jail?

by AfricaGeo Editorial on August 8, 2013 in News

A notorious ivory trafficker was arrested in Togo on 6 August 2013.

N’Bourke, who is known as “The Boss”, is an a ivory trafficking and poaching kingpin and is believed to have been operating for over 40 years, fueling the slaughter of over 10 000 elephants. The Daily Mail reported that upon being arrested, N’Bourke even admitted to having a special trading permit for ivory despite its global ban, although Togo’s environmental minister dismissed the claims.

In the first arrest of its kind in Togo, N’Bourke was detained after authorities seized more than 700 kilograms of ivory from his shop in the capital city of Lome. Environmental activists who had been investigating N’Bourke’s activities say that he was not only a buyer and seller of ivory but had been financing a variety of poaching rings that operate in Central Africa.

Togo is a country that houses just 60 elephants in its protected parks but is quickly becoming known as a transit station for ivory bound for Asia. Togo has a large shipping industry because it is the only naturally deep-water port in West Africa and this high volume of traffic could make it easier for poachers and traffickers to get the ivory out of Africa. Recent busts have been made in both Malaysia and Hong Kong on shipping containers bound from the area.

N’bourke is expected to appear in court next week and according to current law he could only face a maximum of one year in court for his crimes in the ivory trade, while other accusations of money laundering could see an extended sentence.

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:09 pm

Chinese development finance to Togo

From 2000 to 2011, there are approximately 40 Chinese official development finance projects identified in Togo through various media reports. These projects range from road rehabilitation projects in 2009, to a 60 million Euro loan for Togo’s Banque Ouest Africaine de Developpement in 2011, and an approximately $31.7 million loan to the state operator Togo Telecom from Chinese EXIM Bank.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China%E2%8 ... _relations

The friendly and cooperative relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Togo grew steadily in 2010, with their practical cooperation in various fields further deepened.

The two countries maintained close high-level exchanges. On 11 March, President Hu Jintao sent a message of congratulation to President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe of Togo on his successful re-election. In April and August, President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe sent letters of condolences to President Hu Jintao following the earthquake in Yushu, Qinghai province and the mudslide in Zhouqu, Gansu province. In August, President Faure attended the Togo National Pavilion Day events in the Shanghai World Expo in China. He met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on advancing bilateral relations. President Faure and his delegation also visited Zhejiang province.

Cooperation between the two sides on economy and trade was further expanded. The eight measures announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation have been fully implemented. The Regional Center Hospital of Lome Community built with China's assistance was completed and put into use. The well-drilling project was started. The project of transformation of Togo's No.1 national road and the project of Lome city ring road were in smooth progress. In October, China provided Togo with emergency material aid after the country was hit by severe flood.

People-to-people and cultural exchanges, and cooperation between the two countries registered positive results. In July, a delegation from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television visited Togo. The two sides signed the Sanction Statement of technical studies of planting in Togo the broadcasting and transmission equipment of China Radio International and China Central Television. A youth delegation of Lome City came to China for the Shenzhen Journey of Friendship in the same month. In August, the Togo Music Group of Akpasiakpa performed during the Togo National Pavilion Day event of the Shanghai World Expo. In September, Edem Kojdo, former Prime Minister of Togo, visited China and made a speech at the World Friendship City Congress. The Sichuan Art Troupe of China visited Togo in the same month.

http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjb/zzjg/fz ... t16591.htm

Re: Elephant Poaching: Arrests, Prosecutions & Sentencing

Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:12 pm

It's the same over much of Africa, and note one of the ports of entry was Hong Kong...a Chinese possession.