Cracking Down on Wildlife Crime: Lusaka Agreement Task Force Applauds Transboundary Collaboration with Tanzania National Parks

In a significant win against wildlife trafficking, the collaboration between the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and enforcement officials from Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA) in Serengeti National Park has led to the arrest of elephant ivory traffickers. This successful operation underscores the importance of cross-border cooperation in combating illegal wildlife trade.

The operation stemmed from shared intelligence received by LATF from Kenya, alerting authorities about suspects in Tanzania in possession of elephant tusks and seeking a market. Acting swiftly, LATF coordinated with law enforcement officers in Tanzania to apprehend the suspects. On Thursday, 22nd February 2024, three individuals were arrested in Mariadi Village near Serengeti National Park, with law enforcement seizing six (6) pieces of elephant tusks weighing 60 kilograms. The suspects have since been arraigned in court, with their case pending.

This collaborative effort highlights LATF’s ongoing commitment to fostering cooperation among member states in the fight against transboundary wildlife crime. The Director of LATF, Mr. Edward Phiri, commended the transboundary collaboration and urged authorities to delve deeper into digital forensics to identify the key players along the trafficking chain.

Today, the 27th February 2024, TANAPA officials, headed by Mr. Theophilo Alexander who is the Head of Investigations in TANAPA, met at the Lusaka Agreement Task Force to enhance post-operation planning. They discussed strategies to eradicate cross-border criminal activities in the Serengeti Masai Mara region.

TANAPA Officials

TANAPA Officials meeting with LATF team in Nairobi

Transboundary wildlife crime remains a significant challenge, posing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems across regions. The success of this operation underscores the effectiveness of coordinated efforts and intelligence sharing among enforcement agencies. By leveraging digital forensics and other advanced techniques, authorities can further disrupt criminal networks and hold perpetrators accountable.

LATF’s dedication to combatting wildlife crime extends beyond individual operations, encompassing capacity building, training, and awareness-raising initiatives. Through sustained collaboration and innovative approaches, LATF continues to make strides in safeguarding wildlife and preserving natural habitats.

As the fight against illegal wildlife trade persists, the recent operation serves as a testament to the power of international cooperation and collective action. By working together, nations can stem the tide of wildlife crime and ensure a brighter future for our planet’s most vulnerable species.



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