Concerns over stockpile ivory theft

Johannesburg - The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) expressed concern on Friday over recent thefts of ivory stockpiles in Zambia and Botswana.

Earlier in the week, Zambia announced that three tons of ivory tusks had gone missing from the Zambia Wildlife Authority's (Zawa) headquarters.

In May, Botswana confirmed that 26 tusks had been taken from a government vault in the border town of Kasane, close to Zambia.

Suspects had been arrested in both cases by Zambian authorities, but as yet much of the ivory had not been recovered.

Ivory stockpiles were a security headache for countries, as they demanded intense management and drained resources, said Ifaw spokesperson Jason Bell in a statement.

"The targeting of stockpiles, Africa's most secure sources of ivory, indicates how far the illegal ivory trade is prepared to go to take to get what it wants," he said.

"Unfortunately it is the foot-soldiers of the traders, the common thieves, who risk their lives to supply this trade."

Support needed

Countries needed support to enable them to protect their wildlife.

Most contraband ivory in Africa is smuggled into markets such as China, where legal markets make it possible for criminals to easily launder black-market ivory, Ifaw said.

Since February, a joint Interpol and Ifaw operation in 14 African countries had arrested more than 200 people and seized almost two tons of contraband ivory, 20kg of rhino horn and military grade weaponry.

Ifaw urged developed countries to support training for wildlife law enforcers and research into the illegal trade.

"This has been to date the most wide-ranging operation coordinated by Interpol against the illegal ivory trade," said Ifaw environmental crime spokesperson David Higgins.

The intelligence gathered during this operation would enable Ifaw to identify the links between poachers and global networks.

It could then identify trading routes and arrest those involved in coordinating the trade.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1046 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 5797 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1221 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.40
+0.0%
Rand - Pound
21.43
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.91
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.31
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Platinum
1,010.88
+1.0%
Palladium
1,648.15
+0.7%
Gold
1,927.06
-0.1%
Silver
23.68
-0.2%
Brent Crude
85.46
+1.1%
Top 40
73,431
0.0%
All Share
79,477
0.0%
Resource 10
75,833
0.0%
Industrial 25
102,289
0.0%
Financial 15
16,145
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE