The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has arrested two suspects for illegally being in possession of 115.5kg of ivory, which are worth about 16 dead elephants put together.
ZAWA Communications and Public Relations Officer Readith Muliyunda said in a statement in Lusaka,
Ms Muliyunda said this was stocked up Ivory suspected to have been poached over a period of one year or two. One elephant is worth about K50,000. Hence the total value of elephants lost as a result of this particular vice is a whooping K800,000.
“This is a great loss of revenue for the country as we seek to protect Wildlife from illegal poaching and trade in order for it to serve its broader purpose of contributing to the country’s economic and tourism sectors.” She said.
She said the named suspects in this case, is a business woman aged 52 of Chaisa in Lusaka and a man who identified himself as a taxi driver, aged 37 of Lusaka West.
“The duo was caught after Officers mounted a road block in Mukunku, in Mumbwa District at the weekend and a Toyota corona, registration number, ABL 2666, in which they were travelling, has since been impounded.
They were four in the car and were on their way to Lusaka, but two escaped and are currently on the run. After searching the motor Vehicle, the Officers found 31 pieces of ivory weighing 115.5 Kg packed in two huge traveling bags. The woman was also found with a ZANACO ATM bank that doesn’t belong to her. The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) is also carrying out their own investigations in the matter. ZAWA would like to warn members of the Public that poaching and trafficking in Ivory is a very serious offence and those found wanting will be brought to book immediately.” Ms Muliyunda said.
She said poaching of Elephants for Ivory has become a major concern, not only in Zambia, but Africa as a whole and government has pledged to give extra support to ZAWA to ensure that this is curbed. It is for this reason that government has put in place a moratorium on Elephant hunting in Zambia to monitor and establish its population locally.
Ms Muliyunda said at the Elephant summit held in Gaborone, Botswana last month, Vice President Guy Scott said measures to combat illegal Wildlife must be taken seriously by all African states, including the government of Zambia.