Tons of Confiscated Ivory Burned in Mozambique to Fight Poaching

On Monday, in front of Mozambican NGOs, foreign diplomats and a swath of television cameras, Mozambique's Minister for Land, Environment, and Rural Development set fire to a confiscated stockpile of 2.4 tons of ivory and over 400 pounds of rhinoceros horns and sea turtle shells. Dramatic images of the ceremony -- designed to demonstrate the Mozambican government's strong resolve to eradicate poaching within its borders -- have gone viral on social media and have been carried by news outlets worldwide.

International demand for elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, and other animal products has fueled the slaughter of elephants and rhinos across Africa, ravaging animal populations within Mozambique's game parks. The U.S.-based Wildlife Conservation Society estimated that poaching has killed nearly half of Mozambique's elephant population in just the past five years, and rhinos were poached out of existence in Mozambique in 2013. Transnational criminal networks are behind much of the poaching and subsequent trafficking of wildlife contraband, depriving local communities of the natural wealth that supports tourism and maintains diverse ecosystems.

The U.S. government applauds Mozambique’s unequivocal action in destroying the illegal wildlife items, as major U.S. priorities include working with local authorities to improve management of protected areas, combating wildlife trafficking, prosecuting individuals found poaching or trafficking in illegal wildlife products, and intercepting the trafficking networks which export these products around the world. One immediate challenge is providing Mozambican game parks with a level of funding that allows for serious anti-poaching efforts. The U.S. government is supporting Mozambique on this front currently through several key initiatives. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is contributing $9.8 million over the next five years to the Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique, part of a global development alliance with contributions of $14.75 million from private sector partners. To assist conservation efforts in central Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park, USAID is contributing $10 million over the next five years to the Integrated Gorongosa Park and Buffer Zone Project, and the Carr Foundation will generously provide a $10 million matching contribution.

The Mozambican government is taking steps to conserve its natural resources and promote eco-tourism. This year the governments of Mozambique and Tanzania signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding to create a 50,000 square kilometer corridor between the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania and the Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique. The Selous-Niassa system is now the largest landmass in the entire world under protected management. Coordination between the two game reserves will assist with anti-poaching efforts, remove barriers to wildlife movement, promote exchange of scientific expertise, and develop cross-border tourism opportunities.

About the Author: Brock McCormack serves in the Public Affairs Section at the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, Mozambique.

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Comments

Comments

Brahmadas R.
|
India
July 11, 2015
Very good attempt from the side of Mozambican Government. US authorities seems very happy with this action. We need to protect the wild life. All Government authorities should have courage to do this to avoid poaching and trafficking of illegal wild life products.
Confiscated stockpile of ivory, rhinoceros horns, and sea turtle shells is burned in Mozambique
Posted by Brock McCormack
July 9, 2015

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