Tag Archives: tanzania

Counting the cost of East Africa’s poaching economy

Organised crime gangs generate staggering profits smuggling ivory and rhino horn

AFP

Published: 15:33 March 23, 2014

Nairobi: Organised crime gangs in East Africa are generating staggering profits smuggling ivory and rhino horn with impunity, experts say, threatening both an irreplaceable wildlife heritage and key tourism industries.

Kenyan and Tanzanian ports are the “primary gateway” for ivory smuggled to Asia, where demand is fuelled by increasingly affluent markets, especially in China, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) warns.

Last year, seizures of ivory shipments reached “record levels”, according to a recent Interpol report.

“Large-scale ivory shipments — each one representing the slaughter of hundreds of elephants — point to the involvement of organised crime networks operating across multiple countries,” Interpol said.

 Poaching has risen sharply across Africa in recent years.

Organised gangs with insider knowledge and armed with automatic weapons and specialised equipment such as night vision goggles, brazenly use chainsaws to carve out the rhino horn or remove elephant tusks.

Veteran Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey has now warned that drastic action must be taken, saying that known ringleaders in Kenya are operating with “outrageous impunity”.

The rise in poaching, with animals being slaughtered inside even the most heavily guarded national parks or conservation areas, show that the poachers have little fear of tough new laws designed to stem the wave of killings, he said.

“They could not operate with the impunity we are seeing if you did not have some form of protection from law enforcement agencies,” Leakey said, as he made an appeal for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to take action.

“It is a problem of a few criminals… the ringleaders are known,” he added, claiming that a core group of around 20 to 30 people were organising the mass poaching but that none had faced justice.

It’s a lucrative business: a kilo of ivory is worth some $850 (Dh3,121) in Asia, with UNODC suggesting ivory smuggled to Asia from Eastern Africa was worth over $31 million in 2011.

But such short-term and finite profits generated by the spate of killings are threatening the far more valuable tourism industry, which in Kenya and Tanzania is the second largest foreign exchange earner after agriculture.

“The African elephant is not currently deemed ‘endangered’ as a species, but its decimation in Eastern Africa could be devastating,” UNODC’s report read.

“In addition to the reduction in genetic diversity, its loss could seriously undermine local tourist revenues, a key source of foreign exchange for many of the countries of the region.”

But the region’s two large container ports — Mombasa in Kenya and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania — are also notorious trafficking hubs, funnelling more elephant tusks to Asia than all of central, southern and west African nations combined.

The two nations made up almost two-thirds of all large shipments of ivory seized across the entire continent from 2009-2011, according to the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS), a tracking database run by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC.

Seizures of containers crammed full of tusks — often hidden under foul-smelling fish or dried chili peppers in a bid to confuse sniffer dogs or discourage detailed searches — are regularly found.

Much of the ivory smuggled is destined for China, whose rapidly growing economy has encouraged those enjoying disposable income to splash out on an ivory trinket as a sign of financial success.

“Growing affluence in China, where possession of elephant ivory remains a status symbol, appears to have rendered China the world’s leading destination for illicit ivory,” the UNODC report added.

The smuggling of rhino horns is a bigger problem for Southern Africa, which has far more of the endangered animals. It is often done by air, due to the value of the horn and its smaller size.

But scores of East African rhinos are also being killed despite wildlife rangers often risking their lives to protect them.

 Few convictions

===================

 Action is being taken including far stiffer sentences for wildlife crime, with Tanzania this month jailing a Chinese ivory smuggler to 20 years in jail, and Kenya introducing tough new laws with comparable penalties.

But many escape justice: a recent study by the Kenyan conservation campaign group Wildlife Direct found that just four percent of those convicted of wildlife crime in the past spent time in jail.

Tanzania last year launched a crackdown on suspected poachers, operating under what was reported to be a shoot-to-kill policy and making sweeping arrests.

Leakey, 69, a Kenyan national and former head of the government’s Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), said with the “right management” stemming the poaching was “not an impossible” task.

He was key in stemming the rampant poaching of the late 1980s, bringing in extreme measures to combat poachers including sending helicopter gunships into national parks, and organising the iconic burning of stockpiled ivory.

“It is not valuable, it is tragic rubbish,” Leakey said, waving an ivory carving seized from a smuggler, the tiny tusk of a baby elephant.

“It is putting at risk our heritage… you can regrow a crop but you cannot regrow a wildlife species that disappears.”

This article can be found in this link:

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/other-world/counting-the-cost-of-east-africa-s-poaching-economy-1.1307699

Tanzania: Poachers Must Pay for Their Greed

Tanzania Daily News
20 March 2014

Poaching for elephant tusks and rhino horns in Tanzanian wildlife sanctuaries is such a lucrative business. All criminal poachers know this.

It is a money spinner that has enticed illegal hunters from as far afield as Somalia and China. For them, it is easy to wander into Tanzania’s National Parks, shoot elephants and rhinos, dislodge the tusks and horns and shunt them out of the country with little or no harassment at all, especially when you rope in corrupt local wildlife officials.

And of course, the price of the contraband is a complete rip-off especially in the Arab World or India. Poachers at home and abroad know this. Well, those who join the fray are seriously wrong. Tanzania is all out to flush out poachers to protect its wildlife come what may.

Poachers now pay a hefty price for their folly. Early this week, a Chinese national, one Yu Bo, was thrown into jail for 20 years after failing to pay a fine of 9bn/- for unlawful possession of government trophies worth more than 978m/-.

The convict pleaded guilty to the offence rather readily knowing that he could not go the distance in the legal wrangle. It is unthinkable that a Chinese national or any other foreigner should enter any of our  national parks and engage in poaching.

Senior Resident Magistrate Devota Kisoka told the offending Chinese man that she imposed a harsh sentence on him so it serves as deterrence against poaching in this country. She was right. Too many criminals are out there intent on poaching.

It is the greed for money that drives poachers into our game reserves. President Jakaya Kikwete told the nation recently that poaching has reached disheartening proportions. He said that the elephant population has plummeted to 13,084 from around 38,000 in 2009.

Indeed, poachers must be stopped in their tracks. Elephants, rhinos and other wild animals should be given chance to thrive. The president said that the nation was scaling up its anti-poaching campaigns. Yes, this is the action that must be taken drastically.

Former campaigns such as Kipepeo and Tokomeza made some gains but did not stem the rot. More than 2,000 suspected poachers were arrested and their weapons, including hunting rifles and ammunition were impounded. The criminals got a good hammering.

This was a move in the right direction but the mission was not accomplished fully. The poachers are out of their lair again and are gunning down elephants and rhinos with complete abandon. What is needed now is a sustainable anti-poaching campaign.

Article at the following link:

Tanzania: Chinese ‘Poacher’ Fails to Pay Sh9 Billion Fine, Jailed 20 Years

By Faustine Kapama, Tanzania Daily News

19 March 2014

A CHINESE national, Yu Bo (45), was jailed for 20 years after failing to pay a 9bn/ fine for possessing government trophies worth over 978m/- unlawfully.

The verdict has come at a time when the government has vowed to leave no stone unturned in the effort to curb poaching in the country. Senior Resident Magistrate Devota Kisoka of the Kisutu Resident Magistrates’ Court in Dar es Salaam convicted the Chinese on his own plea of guilty.

She said that she was imposing such severe sentence to serve as a lesson to others who might be tempted to engage in poaching or act as accomplices to the crime.

“The accused person is sentenced to pay 9,781,204,900/-. In default, he should serve 20 years imprisonment,” the magistrate declared after considering the mitigation factors and plea for leniency.

Bo had told the court that it was his first time to be convicted in a criminal case, further saying that he had several dependants. But the prosecution, led by Senior State Attorney Faraja Nchimbi, prayed for a  severe sentence “due to the seriousness of the offence.”

Case details had it that the convict entered the country for business purposes on November 26, last year. Shortly after his arrival, he initiated communications with a syndicate of poachers within and outside Tanzania for the purpose of poaching elephants and other animals, including ground pangolins.

In the process, the convict and other poachers who are yet to be arrested managed to collect 81 elephant tusks and two ground pangolin scales, which were eventually hidden at Mwenge in Kinondoni District.

The accused had neither authority nor permit from the Director of Wildlife Division allowing him to possess the said ivory tusks and the ground pangolin scales. On the evening of December 30, last year, Bo loaded the government trophies on a pick-up vehicle.

Together with a variety of wood carvings, Bo then ferried the said trophies to the Dar es Salaam Port with intent to ship them to the People’s Republic of China. On arrival at port’s gate at around 20:30pm, he sought permission to go to one of the ships.

Article at the following link:

Tanzania: Corruption in High Office Nourishes Poaching

By Lawi Joel,Tanzania Daily News

3 March 2014

POACHING of the wildlife in the country has become a runaway evil that allegedly enriches politicians and civil servants in the corridors of power.

Despite people’s hollers — that population of the rare and endangered species like rhinos, leopards and the elephants are declining fast, national efforts to curb the illegal trade have not made a dent in the vice as more ivory is seized almost every too often.

For some reason, ivory and rhino horn trade has recently spiralled, prompting the government and stakeholders to step up the fight against poaching. But the fight is proving futile as poaching apparently escalates.

President Kikwete told Parliament recently that at independence, the country had an elephant population of 350,000, but hardly twenty years later, the number declined to 55,000.

Quite a drastic fall! Evidently, attempts to check poaching have failed as by 2009, only 10,000 elephants remained in the country. Sometime last year, the government reacted with Operation Tokomeza, an exercise to check poaching and unearth illegal foreigners to bolster security in the country.

But the operation made merely a slight impact on poaching and was seriously mal-implemented by various authorities. The government responded by stopping the operation.

Seemingly, poachers waited for the government’s fury to abate and no sooner had the operation stopped, they killed more than 60 elephants.

The arrest of three Chinese nationals in Dar es Salaam last November with a stockpile of 797 tusks proved that poaching was a free-for-all illegal business.

However, it was a bitter truth for the nation’s economy because that entire trophy meant 400 elephants had been killed. Poachers apparently took advantage of the government’s laxity in fighting the crime.

Critics would have it no other way more than the accusation that the state organs are not being responsible enough.

Whatever reasons given, poaching of the country’s wildlife has alarmingly increased, posing a bleak future for various endangered species. Events have shown that when the authorities are keen in their work of preventing poaching, the elephant population and those of other species threatened with disappearance, increase.

In 1987, when the government launched a major anti-poaching operation, the slaughter of elephants in the country declined sharply and the numbers increased from 55,000 in 1989 to 110,000 in 2009.

Evidence shows that a ban on ivory trade favours increase of elephants. When in the mid-20th century the number of tuskers declined to about 600, 000 from millions by the end of the 1980s, the International trade in ivory was banned in 1989.

The sudden, drastic fall in elephants’ population in 2009 shows that something is seriously amiss with the relevant authorities. Various reasons are advanced for the escalation of ivory trade.

Its market in China and elsewhere in the Far East is alleged to have grown. But the government does not have the wherewithal to adequately check poaching, not only in its biggest national game reserve– Selous, with the size of 232,535 square kilometres — the size of United Kingdom, but in other reserves and game parks as well.

“A new census at the Selous- Mikumi ecosystem has revealed that the elephant population had plummeted to just 13,084 from 38,975 in 2009, representing a 66-per cent decline,” he said in the report.

Endorsing the government’s fear — that it was fighting a losing battle — was a seizure of 20 tonnes of ivory within a period of only three years – from 2010 to 2013. Game Rangers to fight poaching in game reserves are small in number and are overwhelmed by the huge patrolling task of the wild land.

Poachers have taken the government’s inadequacies and wreaked havoc on the wildlife, decimating populations of endangered species to significant numbers. Late last year, the president gave at the State House in Dar es Salaam a report that portrayed the enormity of the problem.

In this scenario, Tanzania obviously needs assistance to fight poaching. Nations which stand well to provide that assistance are its big political and economical friends like China, America and the UK.

The states can help eradicate market for ivory and other wildlife trophies within them. In that regard, Kikwete has roundly stated: “We need technical assistance, funding and technology to … enable us to employ more game rangers and to give us modern technology to tackle poachers.”

However, allegation that stalwart politicians and other government officials in position of power participate in poaching of wildlife, shows that fighting the evil is both a complicated and difficult war.

Rangers have been implicated in poaching and recently some of them were fired for involvement in the illicit business. Even more tarnishing to the government is allegation that police officers too, take part in the dirty and disastrous activity.

The undertone here is that corruption is the major obstacle in the whole in the fight against poaching. One thing is certain here.

With the apparent laxity and the present reign of greed for fast riches, the elephant is certainly on its way out into oblivion, and if any friend can and must help, it is China.

China reaffirms pledge to fight illegal ivory trade

By ABDUEL ELINAZA, Tanzania Daily News
March 02, 2014

China has said some western media reports implicating the country in the illegal ivory trade are “misleading” intentionally and are targeting to derail the long mutual friendship and cooperation between it and African states.

Beijing has also insisted that it strongly opposes the trade even as western media have been linking the country with illegal trade of ivory on the back of long term and historical relations with Africa.

The Director-General in the Department of Africa Affairs of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mr Lu Shaye, said here yesterday some western media are reporting that the increase of illegal trade of ivory and some serious poaching in Africa (Tanzania) have increased due to huge demand from China.

“…Such information is misleading the whole world… why are they (western) doing this? They want to discourage the friendship and cooperation between China and Africa,” Mr Lu, who once served in Africa as China’s Senegal ambassador, said.

The Director was responding to ‘Sunday News’ questions regarding the China stance on illegal ivory trade and its assistance to Tanzania and Kenya in fighting against poaching.

“As a matter of fact China is not the only country that has ivory artifacts, a lot others have, for example Japan and other Southeast Asia countries have…it’s the same case with the UK.

“Prince William of UK Royal Family–as a wildlife conservationist (vows) to destroy all ivory artifacts of Royal Family to show his determination to fight against illegal trade of ivory,” the Director, known here as Mr Africa, said.

He said China is more than willing to work with Africa to fight against the poaching and illegal trade of ivories: “as a matter of fact China conducted joint operations with some Africa countries including Tanzania and Kenya…going forward China will step-up efforts by providing more assistance to Africa to fight against the trade”.

Recently UK’s Daily Mail reported that Tanzania government turned a blind eye to the fight against blood ivory trade which compelled the government to strongly blast the newspaper over its report saying it was one sided.

The Daily Mail article carried the headline: “Tanzania slaughters over 11,000 elephants a year for the bloody trade in tusks and its President turns a blind eye.

”China recently destroyed six tonnes of confiscated ivory, raising hopes for progress in the war against illicit trade in the commodity, most of which comes from Africa.

The ceremony, largely symbolic, was conducted in the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, according to news reports and a release from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Along with burning its ivory stockpile, China has increased some of its enforcement against illegally trading ivory, with the arrest last month of five poachers in Jilin Province, a record, the WCS said in its release.

“We congratulate China’s government for showing the world that elephant poaching and illegal ivory consumption is unacceptable,” said WCS president and CEO Cristián Samper.

“We are hopeful that this gesture shows that we can win the war against poaching and that elephants will once again flourish.”

Tanzania Press Release on rhino poaching, ivory seizure

UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM
PRESS RELEASE

January 19, 2014

Press,
We received a report on Saturday night of 18th January, 2014 at around
00:30, on attempt of poachers who killed a rhino ( Black rhino) at Moru, on
the Southern part Serengeti National Park. Wildlife guards who patrolled
the area discovered a shot dead rhino with his horns being poached.

On Friday 17th January, 2014, three armed robbers possessing SMG arms, who
are thought to be among the poachers, had invaded and attack a minibus of
travelers at around 15:00 in the evening in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
and robbed money with other different possessions.

After we received the information, the Government through the Ministry of
Natural Resources and Tourism in collaboration with Peace and Security
Force, we have taken emergency measures by importing a search of poachers
in all areas within the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation
Area as well as areas surrounding these parks.

We have ordered inspection in any car or person who enters or exit these
parks as part of the criminals hunt. We request information from any
citizen who doubts any unknown visitors around their residential areas to
report to the authorized authority. The reported three criminals are said
to be from one of the East African Community member country, this implies
that the poachers syndicate involved in killing of the rhino is large.

The government is now searching for the three criminals with all means
necessary and we are asking citizens to cooperate by providing information
on criminals, whenever possible, to the National Security force.

Early today morning, the Ministry has assigned Task Force (Rapid Response
Team) comprising of 20 soldiers with special arms to add more force in
searching for poachers and make sure they are found.

Serengeti National Park has a total of 32 rhinos (Black Rhinocerous), of
which their natural habitat is in Serengeti. Among these, five rhinos (5)
were brought from South Africa for a special project under the supervision
of H.E. President, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, where one rhino was killed by
poachers in December 2012.

The poaching situation in the country is getting worse day by day, the
Government has been and will continue to fight against poachers and all
economic sabotage through national resources.

The Government is implementing the resolutions of the National Assembly
which were raised from the Natural Resources and Environment Parliamentary
Committee headed by Hon . James Lembeli and has taken steps to specifically
include the command of the President, by forming a Judicial Commission to
investigate allegations made against the Operesheni Tokomeza . The
government intends to progress with Operation once remedies against the
Operesheni Tokomeza have been solved. The Ministry has taken measures by
suspending 23 of its employees who are facing various charges, including
corruption and helping of poachers.

Despite the reports of arrests for ivory in various locations in the
country, including the incident of a reported case in the Dar es Salaam
Habour, we regret to inform the public that, early this month, Mrs. Salome
Aloyce (Sinza Madukani) , Mr Rajab Omar (Kigogo DSM), and Mr. Kadili
Mohammed Kisanduku (taxi driver – Mbezi Luis DSM ) who were travelling to
Dar es Salaam, were arrested in the Ugenza village in Mufindi, having
transported elephant horns weighing 37 kilogram using a Toyota Corolla car,
with registration number T 580 ABL, owned by Mr . Florian Elias of Dar es
Salaam. These suspects are now detained by the police for further legal
action.

ISSUED BY

MINISTERIAL HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATION UNIT

17.01.2014

The elephant emergency: Summit to be held in Botswana

Katie de Klee, Daily Maverick

18 Nov 2013

The African elephant is the world’s biggest land mammal; walking the earth at a dignified pace, the elephant has earned its place in the folklore and legend of many cultures. But this impressive creature is being slaughtered at alarming rate for its ivory: it is estimated one elephant is killed every 15 minutes. Check the time now; mark the moment the next grey giant falls. An emergency summit addressing the problems of the illegal ivory is to be held in Gaborone, Botswana at the beginning of December.

———-

President Ian Khama of Botswana will open the summit, and Heads of State and representatives of African elephant range countries will be in attendance, along with high-level representatives from transit and destination countries.

The summit will aim to address the following topics: penalties for ivory trading, law enforcement, population monitoring and public awareness.

A study conducted by the Conservation Action Trust (CAT) found that there were radical differences in the legislation and penalties surrounding poaching in African countries. Punishment must be seen to outweigh the potential financial rewards of the illegal ivory trade, acknowledging the severity of the crime and acting as a real deterrent. Maximum and equivalent penalties should apply in all countries.

National task forces should be formed and an increase in law enforcement and wildlife rangers should be facilitated. Ivory poachers are now often part of organised, armed networks, better equipped and connected than the rangers trying to stop them. More worryingly, the money from the poaching is increasingly often going towards armed rebellions and terrorism. The recent attack on the Nairobi mall by terrorist group al-Shabaab was partly funded by the illegal ivory trade.

The threat to national and international security would also be addressed by better intelligence sharing amongst States, another issue that will be given some time for discussion in Gaborone.

The IUCN will also propose that there needs to be better elephant population monitoring at national levels, and more effort should be put into raising public awareness.

Although the summit calls for global action, eight countries have been identified as being central to recent surges in elephant poaching. These countries are source countries Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, transit countries Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and destination countries Thailand and China. These countries are known as the ‘gang of eight’.

If satisfactory action is not taken by these eight countries to halt the trade of illegal ivory, the IUCN is suggesting heavy trade sanctions on all wildlife products – including the lucrative orchid and crocodile skin industries. Tourism is one of the biggest industries in many African nations, and the heads of these states must be shown that the greatest economic value comes from the living beast, and not from its by-products.

At the beginning of the last century there were 10 million African elephants on earth. Now there may be as few as 400,000. According to IUCN, the number of elephants killed has doubled in the last decade. Southern Africa is their stronghold, but at the rate they’re being killed, in 50 years’ time there won’t be one wild elephant left. That would be an unforgivable indictment on our species.

Zanzibar police seize 40-foot container of ivory (Tanzania)

Agence France Presse

November 2013

Police in the semi-autonomous Indian Ocean island of Zanzibar on Wednesday said they had seized a 40-foot (12-metre) container hiding an estimated several tonnes’ worth of ivory.

The seizure comes as authorities in Tanzania crack down on poaching amid a surge of killings of elephant and rhino in the east African nation.

“This is unacceptable, we must end this problem,” said Tanzanian Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Khamis Kagasheki, who travelled to Zanzibar after the seizure.

“This is serious, let us join forces to save our natural resources,” said the minister as police officers searched the container.

It was not clear where the container was destined for.

Police estimated that several tonnes of ivory were stashed in the container but said they would only be able to give the exact weight of the tusks, as well as the origin and destination of the ivory, once they finished unpacking it.

Kagasheki warned that if authorities were unable to find the owner, the agents who cleared the container on its arrival in Zanzibar’s main port would be held accountable.

“How did ivory manage to be transported to Zanzibar for reshipment?” Kagasheki said.

Zanzibar police chief Mussa Ali Mussa said two workers from a local clearing agent, which he refused to name, had been taken into custody.

In August 2011, at the same port, police seized 1,041 elephant tusks hidden in a shipment of anchovies heading for Malaysia.

The consignment had arrived from the Tanzanian economic capital Dar es Salaam.

The lucrative Asian black market for rhino horn, used in traditional medicine, and ivory has driven a boom in poaching across Africa.

Last week President Jakaya Kikwete told parliament that a controversial anti-poaching operation that allegedly used a shoot-to-kill policy would continue in a bid to stamp out poaching.

Earlier this month three Chinese nationals were charged in mainland Tanzania for possessing 706 tusks from poached elephants. The trio face a maximum sentence of 20 years if found guilty.

US, China team up for wildlife

By DENG XIANLAI, China Daily
November 7, 2013

The US and China, the world’s two largest markets for wildlife products, are joining efforts to combat wildlife trafficking — one of the most lucrative forms of transnational organized crime — which generates an estimated $7 billion to 10 billion annually.

While the US portrays itself as a leader in stopping the killing of endangered species worldwide, it also recognizes that this is a global issue that calls for international partnerships, according to US officials.

“I think we have good discussions going on with China and we are looking forward to continuing them,” Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, said during a news briefing in Washington on Tuesday. “We are also looking forward to really thinking about the steps we can take that will make a difference.”

On the same day in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei was questioned at a news briefing about the three Chinese citizens arrested in Tanzania who had a considerable amount of ivory stock-piled in their residence. Hong said China firmly opposes ivory smuggling and will continue to work with the international community to protect wildlife.

According to media reports, a total of 706 elephant tusks weighing nearly two tons were found last Saturday in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in the house of three Chinese garlic traders. The case follows a recent report by Agence France-Presse that a Chinese man was arrested in October at Zimbabwe’s main airport trying to smuggle ivory out of the country

China, among other Asian countries, has deep cultural ties to ivory, a commodity that is associated with status and prosperity and is often carved into delicate works of artistic ornamentation.

China’s General Administration of Customs told the media recently that it cleared up an ivory smuggling case in which 2,154 elephant tusks weighing 8 tons were confiscated. The case was the biggest of its kind ever in China.

One of the hottest destinations for smuggled wildlife body parts is Xiaman, a city in Southeast China’s Fujian province which is historically the ancestral home of many overseas Chinese doing business in Southeast Asia, an area where ivory trafficking is rampant. According to statistics from Xiamen Customs, two ivory smuggling gangs were caught in the past two years, with 13 tons of elephant tusks and ivory products worth nearly $100 million seized.

“The Chinese government firmly opposes elephant poaching and ivory smuggling and has taken appropriate measures, including new laws, integrated law enforcement and international cooperation,” Hong said.

Facing a worldwide trafficking of endangered species that is becoming very sophisticated, highly organized and syndicated, China has joined the international community to strengthen cooperation.

At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Bangkok, Thailand this March, China accepted a joint proposal offered by the US on Asian turtle conservation, which marked the first ever proposal of its kind between the two countries.

“I think that reflects a growing recognition that the US and China as two leading economic powers in the world need to work together if we are going to achieve conservation for [endangered] species,” said Dan Ashe, director of US Fish and Wildlife Services, who also attended the news briefing in Washington.

In Washington in July, US Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert Hormats and Zhao Shucong, head of the Chinese State Forestry Administration, met to discuss illegal wildlife trafficking and review the two countries’ efforts to combat it.

“In recognition of the economic and security consequences of the burgeoning illicit trade networks, the two nations committed to pursue more effective mechanisms for cooperation,” the State Department announced.

“The US is working in conjunction with its foreign partners — like China, Thailand, Vietnam, and countries where people are seeing this large and growing demand for these species — to reduce the demand for the illicit wildlife products,” said Ashe.

Acknowledging that bilaterally the two countries had “talked quite a bit”, Jones mentioned that the US also had a memorandum of understanding with China on the logging issue, which was “often linked to wildlife trafficking because…you are really talking about the habitat where you find these wonderful animals”.

Tanzania: Foreign Nationals Warned Against Poaching

Tanzania Daily News
5 November 2013

Dodoma — THE government has vowed to take serious punitive measures against foreigners who enter the country and then engage in poaching.

The Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said that irrespective of their countries of origin, the government would not hesitate to take action against such people as the country had embarked on an operation against poaching.

Mr Nyalandu said wild animals, including elephants, were the pride of the country, adding that they highly contributed to government revenue through tourism, hence they should be safeguarded at any cost.

The deputy minister was responding to a supplementary question raised by Ms Riziki Lulida, who claimed that poaching was mostly being perpetrated by foreign nationals, yet the government was not taking serious measures to deal with them.

Ms Lulida said that foreigners, mostly from Asian countries, were killing wild animals with abandon, probably with an ill motive to ensure that the animals perished from Tanzanian parks and reserves.

“It is shameful to see Asians, particularly Chinese nationals, engaging in the massacre of our animals and transporting them to their countries for their own benefit. Why are you not dealing with this issue while it has been severally reported by all the relevant authorities,” Ms Lulida said.

She added that last Sunday a Chinese national was arrested for illegally being in possession of 700 tusks, which means that about 350 elephants have been killed.

Article at the following link: