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wildlife traffickers Archives - Rhino Review

Poaching arrests pile up (Namibia)

By Antipoaching
Ellanie Smit, The Namibian Sun | January 15, 2020

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A total of 18 suspects were recently arrested for wildlife-related crimes, of which 15 suspects were nabbed in connection with rhino poaching or trafficking cases.

According to statistics released by the intelligence and investigative unit of the environment ministry and the protected resource division in the safety ministry, five new wildlife crime cases were opened.

The information, from 5 to 10 January, indicates that six rhino horns and two pangolin skins were seized as well as two firearms, 17 bullets and three vehicles.

In Ondangwa, two Namibians were arrested on 5 January for being in the possession of a pangolin skin.

Matheus Kaandala and Joseph Hilongwa Jermia were charged for contravention of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act.

In another incident on 6 January at Otjiwarongo, another Namibian was arrested for being in the possession of a pangolin skin. Eliaser Sem was also charged for contravention of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act.

At Epukiro Post 3 in the Omaheke Region, Herold Ngavee Hangara was arrested on 6 January for conspiracy to hunt a rhino, while on 8 January, Tobias Murenga was arrested in connection with the same case.

Both men are Namibian and were charged for contravention of the Nature Conservation Ordinance Act, illegally hunting specially protected game and for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act.

Meanwhile at Oshivelo, four Namibians were arrested on 8 January for contravening the Nature Conservation Ordnance, illegal hunting specially protected game, contravening the Controlled Wildlife products and Trade Act and conspiracy to hunt specially protected game. They were also charged with contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act, illegal possession of a firearm without a licence, entering a game park without a permit as well as theft of rhino horns.

Diognesus Nambili Shivute, Moses Ekandjo, Heimo Tweuya Namweya and Seboron Shivolo Seboron were found in possession of four rhino horns, while a vehicle, one hunting rifle and six bullets were confiscated from them.

Namweya and Seberon are employees at the Oshakati Town Council and were among several people who were arrested last week at Etosha National Park for rhino poaching. They were caught attempting to cut the horns off two rhinos they shot in the park.

The same four suspects were also arrested for an old case with regards to the conspiracy to hunt a rhino and entering a game park without a permit at Omuthiya last October.

Meanwhile last Friday, two more suspects were nabbed in connection with the Etosha conspiracy case. Johannes Pinias and Samuel Afunde Matias received the same charges as the other four suspects involved in the matter. The suspects are all Namibian.

At Okahao, another Namibian was arrested last Friday for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act and illegal possession of a firearm without a licence. Sem Johannes was also charged for trespassing in a game park.

In another incident last Friday, two Namibians were arrested with two rhino horns at Katima Mulilo. Lubbula Tama Hendricks and Zambwe Matengu were charged with contravention of the Controlled Wildlife Products and Trade Act and Contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Also at Katima Mulilo last Friday, four Zambian nationals were arrested for conspiracy to hunt a rhino. Makalo Meki, Junior Sililo, Inonox Sibela and Sheka Vitali were also charged for contravening the Arms and Ammunition Act. A hunting rifle and 11 bullets were confiscated.

Environment ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said more suspects are being arrested, which demonstrates the importance authorities according wildlife crimes.

“We have and continue to improve on our intelligence so more and more people will continue to be arrested. We are happy that in the space of one week, 18 suspects were arrested.”

‘More joint ops needed to stop wildlife traffickers’

By Uncategorized
The New Straits Times | December 31, 2019

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SINGAPORE: Worldwide animal smuggling is a US$23 billion industry with selling and buying activities not only using land and sea corridors but also via the Internet.

During the 30th meeting of Interpol’s Wildlife Crime Working Group recently, the agency’s assistant director of Illicit Markets, Daoming Zhang, said: “We see animals and their parts trafficked using ships and airplanes, sold online via the Darknet and the illicit profits unknowingly passed through financial institutions.

“It is clear that the only way to truly eradicate these crimes and protect the world’s wildlife is through a united effort bringing together all stakeholders to develop multi-sector solutions.”

Original photo as published by the New Straits Times: More than two weeks ago, Riau police was reported to have foiled an attempt to smuggle wildlife into Indonesia after the arrest of a resident for allegedly bringing four African lion cubs, a leopard cub and 58 Indian star tortoises from Malaysia to the archipelago, said Asiaone web. – FILE PIC

His words are meant to show how tough it is to tackle the problem as all regions are facing this huge challenge.

According to illicit-trade.com, participants of the meeting were shown the results of Operation Thunderball, a global effort coordinated by Interpol and the World Customs Organisation that targeted wildlife traffickers.

“The operation, which involved police and border officials from 109 countries, resulted in the recovery of 23 live primates, 30 big cats, 440 pieces of elephant tusks, five rhino horns and more than 4,300 birds,” the portal said.

This only shows that more joint operations are needed to be undertaken to stop the smuggling.

Even bugs, including cockroaches, are in demand apart from beetles and scorpions, said The National Geographic.

More than two weeks ago, Riau police was reported to have foiled an attempt to smuggle wildlife into Indonesia after the arrest of a resident for allegedly bringing four African lion cubs, a leopard cub and 58 Indian star tortoises from Malaysia to the archipelago, said Asiaone web.

After investigations went on for a month, authorities found that the smuggler used the Rupat port, Bengkali regency, to smuggle the animals.

The Internet proved to be the latest channel exploited by wildlife smugglers.

In Vietnam, according to The Asean Report, a total of 3,195 ivory items in 165 advertisements from 53 sellers in 10 groups were found on social media from January to April 2017.

It was based on a report by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC published last December titled “From tusk to trinket: Persistent illegal ivory markets in Vietnam”. In Thailand, TRAFFIC found 1,521 live animals for sale online on 12 Facebook user groups in 2016.

Titled “Trading Faces: A rapid assessment on the use of Facebook to trade wildlife in Thailand”, it was a follow-up research on the same 12 groups in July last year showed that only 10 remained — but total membership had almost doubled from 106,111 to 203,445.

In Latin America, dialogochino portal quoted Jessica Gálvez-Durand, from Peru’s National Forest and Wildlife Service, as saying that an average of between 4,000 and 5,000 specimens are seized each year.

Another official said Peruvian authorities received between 20 and 30 complaints of possible animal trafficking offences that appeared online.

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Senator Collins says she’s fighting to protect wild animals (Maine, US)

By Antipoaching
Elle Ousfar, News Center Maine | December 21, 2019

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MAINE, USA: Sen. Susan Collins says she fighting to protect endangered animals by cutting off trafficking and poaching terrorists.

On Saturday, Sen. Collins announced she and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) signed the Rescuing Animals With Rewards (RAWR) Act into law. Collins says the RAWR Act authorizes the State Department to offer financial rewards for information that destroys wildlife trafficking and poaching networks.

“Wildlife trafficking is a transnational crime that requires a coordinated and sustained global effort to effectively combat it,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan bill is one step closer to becoming law, building upon efforts to deter this illegal activity by allowing the State Department to offer rewards for information to help stop wildlife traffickers.”

“When wildlife traffickers, poachers, and profiteers kill magnificent animals like elephants, giraffes, and rhinos, they degrade critical ecosystems and rob the world of a piece of our humanity and shared history on this planet,” said Senator Merkley.

Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action says, “We applaud Senator Collins for championing a creative solution to crack down on these international crimes and are grateful for her tremendous leadership on animal protection issues across the board.”

The RAWR Act, which was first introduced back in May, is supported by many environmental and animal welfare groups.