By John Yeld
Mozambican government officials have promised to increase their efforts to tackle wildlife crime – particularly rhino and elephant poaching. The country has come under increasing international pressure in recent years for its lax attitude to environmental crimes committed by its citizens, and especially for their cross-border incursions into the Kruger National Park where hundreds of rhino continue to be slaughtered in brutal circumstances.
But there has also been massive elephant poaching within Mozambique itself – most in protected areas within the two northernmost provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado, but also in Limpopo National Park that is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, or peace park, that straddles the borders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
It has been estimated that more than 2 500 elephants were poached in Mozambique between 2009 and 2012.
The country’s new commitment emerged from a three-day workshop attended by representatives of several Mozambican ministries, including agriculture, tourism, customs, finance, home affairs and environmental co-ordination.
The workshop was organised by the Mozambican National Directorate of Land and Forestry and by Traffic, the international wildlife trade monitoring network that was established in 1976 and operates in 30 countries. The network is governed by the Traffic Committee, a steering group composed of members of its partner organisations, the Worldwide Fund for Nature and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. More....