Thursday, October 12, 2017

Major Ivory Traffikers Arrested in Malawi

Interpol reports that a major figures in the illegal African ivory trade, the Kaunda Brothers, Chancy and Patrick, have been arrested for their attempt to smuggle 781 elephant tusks worth about $5.8 million from Tanzania to Malawi.  One of the brothers was arrested in northern Malawi on October 4th.  Intelligence led police to arrest the second Kaunda hours later.  The arrests were made as part of an international effort targeting transnational crimes and Interpol's Project Wisdom.  The Project encourages Interpol's 192 member nations to work together to combat environmental criminals like the Kaundas.

The Great African Elephant Census recently completed shows that there are only 352,271 savanna elephants remaining a drastic reduction from several million at the turn of the 20th century.  The aerial survey covered 18 range countries, including Tanzania whose elephants have been especially hard hit by poaching.  The current estimated loss is about 8% per year.  IUCN classifies the savanna elephant as vulnerable to extinction, one step removed from the endangered listing in 1996.