Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ex-policeman, accomplices get total of 24 years in jail for elephant poisoning

A former Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officer, who connived with four villagers and poisoned to death 23 elephants using cyanide was Monday sentenced to four years in prison for disposing hazardous substances and illegal possession of ivory, by a court in the northern town of Hwange
. However, magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa remanded William Ncube, 53, to a later date on another case of illegal possession of ivory where he is being charged without two of his accomplices because he pleaded not guilty to the charge. Accomplices Sikhumbuzo Sibindi, of Fatima Village and Elvis Nkomo of Bhangale Village all from Chief Mabhikwa in Lupane who were also slapped with four-year prison sentences each for violating sections of the Environmental Management Act. Two other accomplices who pleaded guilty to illegal possession of ivory, Mkhululi Ncube, 36, and Johannes Munkombwe, 29, were each slapped with 10 year prison sentences for committing the offence. The two were further slapped with four years each for violating the EMA Act and were also ordered to pay the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority $850,000 compensation for the 20 elephants they killed. The poisoning took place between August last year and last month at Ngamo Forest and the elephants they killed together with the tusks were valued at $1,1 million. Ncube was implicated by his accomplices as the supplier of the cyanide. On the other hand, Ncube told police investigators that he was introduced into the act by some people some of them in Government departments. The five mixed cyanide with water and put it in buckets which they deposited in the bush where the elephants drank. In August last year Ncube took out two tusks of elephants and in September this year he killed three jumbos using water laced with cyanide. He went on to kill two more elephants last month in connivance with Sibindi and Nkomo. Mkhululi Ncube and Munkombwa received an undisclosed quantity of cyanide from Ncube and using the same modus operandi, killed 20 elephants and took away 34 tusks. About 5.67 kgs of cyanide was recovered at Munkombwa's homestead while 4kgs was recovered at Ncube's homestead buried in a kraal. Sibindi, Nkomo, Mkhululi Ncube and Munkombwa said Ncube had promised them money. A statement by an official from the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority which is included in the record showed that a total of 149 jumbos have been poisoned and killed by poachers from February this year to date.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Tanzanian security forces intercept 50kg of elephant ivory

Zanzibari defence and security forces have seized a container full of elephant tusks which was in transit to overseas. The ivory was impounded at Malindi port of Zanzibar, Tanzania’s semi-autonomous region by the anti-smuggling force in collaboration with intelligence officers after they received a tip-off. The container was filled with plastic bags, each containing about 50 kg of ivory. It was impounded a week after Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said that poaching of elephants in Tanzania was alarming and vowed that no stone will be left unturned in the hunt for poachers. According to the latest figures, poachers kill an estimated 30 elephants every day in Tanzania. The number of elephants in the country has dropped from 130,000 in 2002 to 109,000 in 2009, and wildlife experts have warned that the entire population could be wiped out by 2020 if the poaching continues. Source: Wildlife Extra

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kenyan police gun down two poachers

Two suspected poachers have been gunned down by security personnel at Matigari in Laikipia West sub-county. Speaking to the Star yesterday, Laikipia county police boss Angelus Karuru said the two were tracked from Ol Pejeta Conservancy at 12.30am. A gun, four bullets and a motorcycle were recovered. "Two Kenya police reservists at the conservancy spotted the suspects and pursued them," Karuru said. After an hour's chase, the reservists caught up with the suspects at Matigari where a shootout ensued. Karuru said police officers from Rumuruti police station heard the gunshots and proceeded to the scene. The bodies of the unidentified suspects were taken to Nyahururu District Hospital mortuary.Karuru urged residents to volunteer information that could lead to the arrest of more criminals. Mid last month, Kenya Wildlife Service rangers shot dead a suspected poacher and injured another at the neighbouring Solio ranch in Laikipia Central sub-county. Mountain Region Conservancy assistant director Aggrey Maumo said a gang of three suspected poachers had gained entry into the ranch with an aim of killing a rhino. He said one of them, believed to be in his 30s, was shot dead while another escaped with gun wounds in the incident. The body of the unidentified suspect was taken to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital mortuary. Maumo said aerial and ground surveillance have been intensified in the ranch and others in the area, to curb poaching activities. Poaching incidents have escalated in the region in the recent past, with several rhinos having been killed. Source: The Star (Nairobi)