Tuesday, July 8, 2014

NGOs Demand Trade Sanctions Against Mozambique for its Role in Poaching

An elephant in South Africa's Kruger National Park

It has recently been reported that two notable NGOs, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the International Rhino Foundation (IRF), are urging the U.S government to place trade sanctions on Mozambique due to its role in local poaching. The organizations argued that Mozambique has done little to battle its own regional poaching or prevent its nationals from crossing its borders to illegally kill elephants and rhinos in South Africa and Tanzania. According to EIA president Allan Thornton, the reason trade sanctions should be placed is to prompt the Mozambican government to formulate an extensive crackdown on poaching gangs and criminal syndicates that finance and mobilize the poachers. The groups further indicated that Mozambique's elephants are suffering from poaching at preposterous rates, with three to four animals killed daily in Niassa National Reserve. In just five years, the reserve lost 11,000 elephants to poachers resulting in a 55 percent decrease in its elephant population. Reportedly, poaching gangs from Mozambique are now targeting elephants in South Africa and Tanzania. In addition, the NGOs further indicated that some of Mozambique's military and police could be involved in the poaching epidemic. Evidence of this involvement included use of weapons available only to the military and police and the discovery of official uniforms in poaching camps. Given these issues, it is clear that Mozambique is not meeting its treaty responsibilities under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

This article indicates how a country could face consequences for not doing its part in battling some of the most horrific crimes in the world. In this case, Mozambique has come under the spotlight as a country that was found to have not played its part to combat the threat of poaching affecting the elephant and rhino populations in its regional wild places and surrounding areas such as South Africa and Tanzania. In recent times, the populations of Africa's elephants and rhinos have suffered drastically in the poaching epidemic at unprecedented levels. For example, the worst cases of poaching have been taking place in South Africa which witnessed a slaughter of 1,004 rhinos last year. Furthermore, much of the poaching incidents were believed to be carried out by Mozambican nationals crossing into the country via the South Africa-Mozambique border which straddles South Africa's Kruger National Park and Mozambique's Limpopo National Park. It is estimated that between eighty to ninety percent of poaching in both of these national parks were conducted by Mozambican nationals. According to IRF executive director Susie Ellis, several criminal syndicates have shifted their base of operation from South Africa to Mozambique where they are able to operate with impunity while the country's government turns a deaf ear and blind eye which allows poachers to conduct their illicit activities. The NGOs and conservationists believe that by implementing trade sanctions on Mozambique, the country would be forced to cracking down on the poaching epidemic. However, it is also crucial that a certain NGO(s) or some other organizations should go down to Mozambique and educate its military and police in order to persuade them from not becoming involved with the poachers and their superiors. The threat of poaching not only affects the wildlife of Mozambique and South Africa, but also both the countries' socio-economic developments. So as the government of Mozambique continues to turn a blind eye and deaf ear on poaching in the country, it is not only ignoring the plight of the country's wildlife but also the well-being of its own people.

View article here     

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