Thursday, March 22, 2012

Zim elephant poachers nabbed with ivory stash

Two suspected ivory dealers were on Wednesday arraigned before the Chinhoyi magistrates courts following their arrest on allegations of possessing two elephant tusks weighing 16kg and valued at $4 000.

The accused Ruston Unganai (36) of Village 8, Chief Chundu in Karoi, and Sandra Mlilo of Mufakose in Harare appeared before magistrate Sam Chitumwa facing charges of contravening the Wildlife and Firearms Acts.

The State case is that on March 3, a team of police detectives from the Border Control and Minerals Unit and Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority officers were on patrol in the Chundu area, Karoi, when they received a tip-off that Unganai was in possession of ivory and an unlicensed 303 rifle.

Acting on the information, the team proceeded to Unganais home where they identified themselves before conducting a search, the court heard.It is alleged Unganai went to his bedroom and voluntarily took the rifle, serial number 33C0001, with an empty magazine and surrendered it to the officers.

He allegedly further indicated he was in possession of two elephant tusks, which were later recovered from a shallow ditch covered with grass. He also produced an elephants tail hidden in one of his thatched huts.

The court also heard Unganai implicated Mlilo as the supplier of the firearm with a magazine charged with four live rounds for the purpose of hunting down and killing an elephant along Chitake River and removing its tusks on February 28 this year.

On March 4, the court was told Unganai led the team to the scene where he showed them the decomposing carcass. Unganai was remanded in custody while Mlilo was granted $100 bail to March 23 (tomorrow). Vote Zishiri prosecuted.

Source: Newsday

Zim man gets 14 years for attempting to poach rhino

A rhino poacher in Zimbabwe was sentenced to 14 years in jail, despite not having killed the animal.

Magistrates in Zimbabwe are imposing hefty prison terms on poachers, in a bid to protect the country's almost 700 remaining rhino.Game rangers arrested the man (35) at the Chipenge intensive rhino protection zone last week.

He and an accomplice followed several rhino to the zone’s water hole. Rangers caught him with a rifle fitted with a silencer and three rounds of ammunition. His sentence is meant to send a warning to other poachers.

Zimbabwe lost 23 rhino last year.

Source: Eyewitness News

POINT OF CORRECTION: Zimbabwe lost over 30 rhinos according to the official count, which is never accurate and understandably tries to downplay the extent of the poaching crisis. ON

Interpol launches biggest crackdown on African ivory traders

Interpol is carrying out the largest anti-elephant ivory poaching operation ever mounted following mass killings in Africa.

Wildlife agents in 14 different African countries have been raiding outlets and hunting down traders to crack down on the multi-million pound industry. Operation Worthy, as it is being called, is aimed at stifling the increasing demand in illegal elephant ivory, mostly from Asian countries such as China.

The operation, which has been co-ordinated by Interpol's Environmental Crime Programme and funded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), has already had some success.

Several dozen people have been arrested and the agents have recovered what they describe as "significant" amounts of illegal wildlife products - including more than 250kg of raw ivory but also lion and leopard pelts, python and crocodile skins and live birds.

The operation follows a terrible year for elephants in 2011.It was the worst year on record for ivory seizures - and only last week a team of wildlife workers for IFAW reported an unprecedented slaughter of elephants in Cameroon.

"This is about bringing hard-nosed criminals to justice and stopping the cruelty that has been inflicted on thousands of elephants and rhinos," said Kelvin Alie, the director of IFAW's Wildlife Crime and Consumer Awareness Programme.

One of the main exit points for elephant ivory is Kenya and the Sky team was taken to see a huge stockpile of confiscated ivory near the capital, Nairobi.

We have been asked not to identify where we were taken for fear it will be raided and the ivory stolen.

Elephant ivory is big business and protecting the elephants can be a dangerous occupation. As we arrived, the rangers from the Kenyan Wildlife Service told us a female ranger had died that day trying to protect the elephants in her charge.

We were taken through heavily bolted doors to see dozens and dozens of tusks. They filled three rooms. The guard drew my attention to a stack of 12 crates - all filled with ivory hidden among avocados before being spotted by customs officers.

This was just one consignment - with each tusk with a street value of about £40,000 on the black market. They haven't yet decided what to do with the illegal ivory - and what to do with it is a big problem.

In 2008, the ban on ivory sales was lifted to allow for the trade of 108 tons of ivory stocks from Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe to China and Japan. The sell-off did dispense with old stocks but it also boosted demand - and worringly provided an ideal cover for illicit ivory sales.

China's rapid economic expansion into Africa has also inadvertently led to an upsurge in demand for ivory products. With Chinese buyers now prevalent in many African countries, the criminal syndicates ordering the tusks have a ready market.

The rangers from the Kenya Wildlife Service fear the poaching is already depleting elephant stocks to a dangerous level.

Patrick Omondi, the assistant senior director of Kenyan Wildlife Service told Sky News: "We are already seeing populations of elephants disappear. And Kenya cannot fight this war on its own.

"We need the whole international community to come together to fight this or I fear the elephant will eventually become extinct in parts of Africa."

Source: Radio KL.FM 96

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

WWF statement on Cameroon elephant slaughter

Yaoundé, Cameroon – The following statement was issued by Natasha Kofoworola Quist, WWF’s Central Africa Regional Programme Office Representative:

“It has been two weeks since the Cameroon government authorized a military intervention at the site of the slaughter of hundreds of elephants.

WWF is disturbed by reports that the poaching continues unabated in Bouba N’Djida National Park and that a soldier’s life has been lost. The forces arrived too late to save most of the park’s elephants, and were too few to deter the poachers.

It is likely that at least half the population of Bouba N’Djida's elephants has been decimated. WWF is seeking a concrete assurance from Cameroon President Paul Biya that he will do whatever is necessary to protect the remaining elephants in Bouba N’Djida, and to bring the killers to justice.

We expect those detained to be prosecuted for violating Cameroon’s territorial integrity with deadly weapons in order to kill elephants for their ivory. All those convicted of involvement in wildlife crime must be sentenced to the full extent of the law.

WWF also calls on President Biya to extend an appropriate level of protection to wildlife in other Cameroon parks that are under a similar threat. WWF has for years cautioned the government that its rangers are not properly trained or equipped to address the scale, intensity and organized nature of illegal poaching.

Rangers’ lives are being lost in this battle. The honourable men and women who are putting their personal safety at risk to protect wildlife and to serve communities near protected areas deserve better from their leaders.

The poachers in Bouba N’Djida are reportedly from Chad and Sudan, thus this incident constitutes an invasion of Cameroon’s sovereign territory and willful slaughter of its wildlife.

WWF urges Cameroon to engage the governments of Chad and Sudan in a coordinated response to the criminal acts in Bouba N’Djida. WWF has offered its assistance and is awaiting meaningful action from Cameroon and its neighbours.”-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: WWF

Monday, March 19, 2012

Donald Trump's Sons Awesome At Killing Elephants And Other Wildlife

Animal rights activists are revolted by a series of trophy photos that have emerged showing Eric and Donald Trump Jr. posing with a dead elephant, kudu, civet cat and waterbuck while on a big game safari in Zimbabwe last year.

In one photo, Donald Jr. proudly holds a dead elephant tail in one hand and a knife in the other. In another, the brothers are seen standing beside a 12'8" crocodile hanging from a noose off a tree. Activists obtained the photos and created this video montage of the Trumps' big hunt:

“Like all animals, elephants, buffalo, and crocodiles deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires’ grisly photo opportunity,” a spokesperson from PETA told Hollywood Life.

”If the young Trumps are looking for a thrill, perhaps they should consider skydiving, bungee jumping, or even following in their anti-hunting father’s footsteps and taking down competing businesses—not wild animals. If the Trumps want to help villagers, they have plenty of resources at their disposal."

Responding to the criticism on Twitter, Don Jr. blasted the "PETA crazies" and insisted "the meat was used to feed hungry villagers." The big game safari was organized through a company called Hunting Legends.

The Daily Mail reports that there are trophy fees for the deer-like animal they shot, called the Kudu. The Trumps reportedly paid at least $2,795.00 and another $1,997.00 for the Waterbuck they were pictured with, but Don Jr. says on Twitter, "the money from hunting fees preserves animals and habitat."

Source: Wildlife Extra (UK)


A senior prison officer and two Harare men were on Friday arrested in Binga after they were found in possession of four elephant tusks and an unspecified quantity of mbanje (marijuana).

A fourth suspect fled the scene and is still at large. Police Criminal Investigation Department co-ordinator for Matabeleland Region Assistant Commi...ssioner Erasmus Makodza yesterday confirmed the arrest but did not disclose details of the incident.

“I can confirm the arrest, but that is all I can say to you now. Further investigations are still underway,” he said.

But police sources identified the senior prison officer as Assistant Commissioner Apinos Mudzamiri, in charge of administration at the Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) Headquarters in Harare.

They said he was arrested after the vehicle he was travelling in, a Mahindra truck, got bogged down in the mud.

“There were police officers travelling to Binga doing patrols in Operation Nyanga Ye Ropa going on in Matabeleland North Province. Along the way, the vehicle the police officers were travelling in got stuck in the mud,” said the police sources.

“As they were making efforts to remove the vehicle from the mud, another maroon Mahindra approached and also got stuck in the mud. The police got curious about what the vehicle was carrying. A search was conducted, leading to the discovery of the tusks and mbanje and subsequently to Mudzamiri’s arrest.

“Two other civilians were arrested but another one escaped. Police have since impounded the Mahindra truck and another white vehicle that the four were using.”

The police sources said Mudzamiri and the two civilians were being held at police holding cells in Hwange and were expected to appear in court this week.

ZPS spokesperson Chief Prison Officer Priscilla Mthembu yesterday said she was unaware of her boss’s arrest.

“I can confirm that he is part of the ZPS, but at the present moment, he (Mudzamiri) is on leave. We are yet to receive any information about the arrest,” she said.

Source: Newsday

Invaders apply to rape Chiredzi Conservancy


Despite numerous reports and photos having been supplied to the authorities, the destruction of Chiredzi River Conservancy by illegal settlers continues unabated. It is now alleged that the settlers are putting together a petition to present to parliament requesting that all the elephants be shot as they are destroying their crops. This is a very strange request in view of the fact that crops can't be successfully grown in this arid, unarable area.

Settlers have now started invading Oscro Ranch which is one of the last remaining areas of Chiredzi River Conservancy with no settlers. They are moving into the area, chopping down trees and building shelters. All these people have already taken land elsewhere in the conservancy. Reports are made daily to the police but they have not responded. It is alleged that war vets are the driving force behind these invasions.


Rhino poaching in South Africa has reached shocking proportions with 448 killed last year and it is believed, around 110 killed this year already. A big thank you to the South African authorities who are making a huge effort to strike back at the poachers.

Five men, including 2 game farmers and game rangers have been arrested in a sting operation involving an alleged rhino poaching syndicate. The men arrested were Ewart Potgieter, Riaan Vermaak, Filemon Mbatha, Nkosinathi Sithole and Mduduzi Sithole.

In a stop-and-search operation by South African police, Joseph (Big Joe) Nyalunga, one of the most wanted men in the underworld of rhino poaching was arrested after being caught with 4 rhino horns hidden behind the seat of his car.

Four people were arrested in Bedfordview when they were found in possession of rhino horn after a car crash.

Five poachers were arrested at Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West.

Two men believed to be linked to several rhino poaching incidents in Kruger National Park were arrested after being found with a weapon aand ammunition stashed under the seat of their car.

Three Mozambiquan citizens, Aselmo Baloyi, Jawaki Nkuna and Ismael Baloyi were sentenced to 25 years each after being found guilty of illegally huntin rhino in Kruger National Park.

Chumlong Lemtongthai and Marnus Steyl appeared in court after being accused of running one of South Africa's largest rhino horn smuggling syndicates wherein they used prostitutes to pose as trophy hunters.

Nine suspected poachers have been arrested in the Limpopo and North West.

A man has been arrested in Pretoria for illegal possession of rhino horns.

A driver, Sipho Mkhwanazi was sentenced to 3 years in prison or a fine of R10 000 for transporting rhino horns.

Two rhino poachers were shot dead in a follow up operation after eight rhino carcasses were discovered near Pretoriuskop and Lower Sabi.

Four government wildlife staff including a game ranger and a traffic policeman have been arrested for killing rhinos in the Kruger National park.

Three veterinarians and five other men appeared in court in connection with the wrongful possession and distribution of scheduled veterinary drugs commonly used in rhino poaching.


Sherwood Golf Club has committed itself to helping the environment by going green and one of their first projects is to plant up to 2000 trees. They are working hand in hand with COSMO Trust, the Monavale community organisation which maintains one of the few remaining wetlands in the Harare area.

On Saturday, 3rd March, they held a tree planting ceremony at the golf course where trees, supplied by COSMO were sold to interested people. The trees purchased were planted on the golf course and tagged with the purchaser's name so that the buyer can monitor its growth. The money raised from selling the trees will go towards preserving the wetlands.

In addition to tree planting, Sherwood Golf Club is also using environmentally friendly fertilizers. They are actively involved with various organisations and individuals in cleaning up the environment by collecting materials for recycling. Empty tin cans (beer or soft drinks) can be dropped off at the club where they will be stored for recycling.

The official tree planting ceremony was held at 12 noon and a talk was given by the Honourable Member of Parliament, Ms J Majome.

We would like to comment Sherwood Golf Club for the stance they have taken in helping to preserve our environment and we encourage other clubs to follow their example.

Source: Johnny Rodriguez, Chairman ZCTF