By Sakabilo Kalembwe
If anyone tells you that illegal wildlife trade is quick dosh and that you should get involved, please think twice about it. In fact, do not waste time thinking about it, just do not go in there.
The consequences are bad and could negatively affect your future plans, disturb your family life and you will just be messed up.
Freshly, the Livingstone Magistrate’s Court sentenced five men to five years imprisonment each for illegal possession of raw ivory.
The five were arrested during an undercover operation led by the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) Intelligence and Investigations Unit (IIU) on February 18 this year, working alongside Game Rangers International (GRI).
According to GRI sources, the suspects were found in possession of 14 pieces of raw ivory weighing 210 kilogrammes. The five tried to sell the ivory to someone they thought was an interested buyer.
However, the buyer was an IIU undercover operative. The suspects were arrested and the ivory was confiscated. The five recieved their prison sentences after two IIU officers, who were involved in the operation, gave statements in court.
Zambia is home to a significant wildlife population including elephants, rhinos, lions and wild dogs, which are increasingly threatened by illegal killing and trafficking.
Almost all of the eight countries that border Zambia form trade routes for illicit wildlife products. ZAWA is working hard to tackle this increasing ecological, economic and security threat to this peaceful and developing nation.
GRI’s work supports ZAWA’s anti-trafficking operations in collaboration with the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project, supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, African Wildlife Foundation and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.
Threats to our beautiful flora and fauna are constantly emerging. With the realisation that ZAWA and other stakeholders have scaled up their operations, suspected poachers have also become sophisticated. There is therefore need for different stakeholders in the noble cause of conservation to join hands so that we soldier on with the mission.
May I repeat, please do not dare join wildlife cartels because you shall surely be caught and the law will take its course.