INTERPOL REQUEST TO NAB FOUR SUSPECTS RUBBISHES TANZANIA’S DENIALS
The recent seizure of blood ivory in Hong Kong by customs officials, said to be worth over 3.4 million US Dollars and containing over 1.200 tusks representing over 600 poached elephant, drew prompt denials from Tanzanian officials, when Dar es Salaam was named as one of the shipping points of origin.
The ‘it was not us’ chorus however was silenced in a hurry when Hong Kong police, through Interpol, sent a formal request to nab four suspects in Tanzania who were named when some of those arrested in Hong Kong started to spill the beans and revealed their contacts in Dar and beyond.
Added information revealed appears to confirm suspicions that the blood ivory could originate from the Selous and Mikumi National Park, where poaching on a commercial scale has found little serious opposition from security forces, inspite of continued full mouthed statements to the contrary. A parliamentary report earlier this year brought to the plenary in Dodoma, asserted that up to 30 elephant per day were killed by poachers in Tanzania and that the battle against poaching was certainly not won, but probably lost, as the big herds were being relentlessly cut down, while at the same time officials in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism insisted that hunting of elephant must continue because it generated revenue for them.
The denials must be seen in the light that Tanzania had just announced a fresh bid to sell about 100 tons of ivory on the open market, after losing a similar application at the CITES meeting in Doha in 2010. At the time the CITES Secretariat had compiled a damning report on the country’s laxity over anti poaching operations and regular trafficking through Tanzanian ports, which brought the roof down on the application when the delegates voted the request down alongside the one from Zambia. These latest damaging findings will therefore only fuel the sentiments of those opposed to Tanzania being permitted to sell stocks and calls are emerging for Tanzania to follow the example of Kenya and burn the ivory.
Watch this space as the onslaught against Africa’ wildlife heritage continues unabated, fueled by unchecked demand from mainly China for ivory and rhino horn.