MAPUTO (Xinhua) -- Authorities from the Limpopo National Park in southern Mozambique said that the park has increased supervision this year with more suspects and weapons being seized, as the country has recently undergone the World Wide Fund (WWF)’s criticism for little progress in dealing with the problem, local news agency reported on Friday.
“In the first five months of this year the authorities neutralized 14 suspects of poaching and 11 weapons they used in their operations, the authorities believe the same group has also being operated in the Kruger National Park from South Africa,” said Anthony Alexander from the Limpopo National Park, quoted by the state news agency AIM.
The authorities said there has been an increase in supervision provided to the park areas, and this year the collected fines so far has risen to nearly 1 million U.S. dollars against the 400,000 U.S. dollars last year.
“We are working with the legal authorities to help collecting the money of fines so that the perpetrators do not go unpunished,” said Alexander. Part of the money collected is reverted to the park authorities to reinforce supervision mechanisms.
The Park Protection Coordinator, Jose Sitoe said another indicator of increased supervision is in the number of weapons arrested. Last year in the same period, it arrested the same number of suspects but only 2 weapons were apprehended against 11 this year.
The Limpopo park is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, a 35,000-square-kilometer peace park that will link the Limpopo National Park, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as the area between Kruger and Gonarezhou, the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa.
The WWF has issued an alarm last month over plummeting elephant populations in Mozambique after an aerial survey showed the ivory poaching is decimating herds in the southern African country.
The WWF International’s Policy Expert on Wildlife Trade, Colman O’Criodain said that “Mozambique has emerged as one of the main places of the slaughter of elephants and ivory transit in Africa and as a profitable warehouse for transit and export of rhino horn for the Asian markets.”
According to the WWF, up to 900 elephants were poached in the Niassa National Park, north of the county, over a three-year period till 2013.
The survey in the Quirimbas National Park, in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, found that between 480 and 900 elephants killed by poachers from 2011 to 2013.
The WWF concluded that the poaching activity is on the rise in the Niassa National Reserve Park, where the authorities spotted 756 carcasses in 2009, while the number tripled to 2,365 in 2011.
The WWF pointed out that deeper causes of poaching have yet to be tackled, including “weak enforcement, vulnerable borders, corruption, a lack of institutional co-ordination, the existing legal frameworks, humen/elephant conflict...and a lack of appreciation for wildlife by the general populace.”
The Mozambican government began to pay more attention to this serious situation this April, with a bill on conservation areas passed by the parliament, which is expected to help fight poaching and carry out a sustainable management of its resources.
Under the bill, poachers in Mozambique are to face touchers penalties, with 8 to 12 years in jail and up to a fine of 90,000 U. S. dollars.
While, the economic interests behind the ivory poaching is still driving many people to join the illegal activity, as the Limpopo park authorities has told the local news agency that, they felt worried about the number of young people who are abandoning studies to involve poaching.