Four poachers nabbed

via Four poachers nabbed | The Herald October 27, 2015

POLICE arrested four people at the Harare International Airport on Saturday and recovered 173kg of ivory worth over $43 000. The arrest followed a tip-off. The four are now assisting police with investigations. The ivory was stashed in bags. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the arrests in a statement yesterday. Three of the suspects are Zimbabweans and the fourth a Malian. She said the ivory was destined for Singapore. “We are happy that our system was able to detect the smuggled goods,” she said.

Zimbabwe is home to one of Africa’s biggest surviving elephant populations after herds in neighbouring regions of eastern and central Africa were decimated by poaching. Earlier this month, three parks workers were arrested on allegations of stealing eight elephant tusks from Hwange National Park’s Main Camp strong room. The three, ecologist Edwin Makuwe and game rangers Masimba Nyoni and John Pedzi, were arrested after their loot was discovered at the Harare International Airport by CID Border Control Unit officers.

Makuwe was part of a team that was investigating a recent fresh cyanide elephant poisoning at Main Camp where about 10 elephants were killed. Ms Washaya-Moyo said it was the first time in the country that national park officials had been arrested for direct involvement in smuggling. Zimbabwe is reportedly sitting on 70 tonnes of ivory stocks valued at more than $17 million.