A recent joint law enforcement operation involving officers from Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) has demonstrated significant progress in improving international cooperation in the fight against cross border wildlife crime. The operation took place in the last week of April and involved a series of sub operations in Copper-belt and Lusaka provinces.

The Copper-belt sub operation resulted in the arrest of a Chinese national who has been smuggling ivory products to China using registered mail services. 14 pieces of worked ivory belonging to a Mr. Cheng Jibin (34) were seized in two mail parcels at Lusaka International Airport and traced to a local post office in a town called Luanshya. Mr. Jibin, who comes from Jilin Province in China, has been using the postal address of a local police station to send illegal mail parcels to China. This mode of ivory smuggling is the first to be recorded in Zambia. The Copper-belt sub operation was also used to formally charge and prosecute 3 Chinese nationals who were earlier arrested at Ndola International Airport with an assortment of ivory products. The 3 accused are currently appearing in a local magistrate court.

The Lusaka sub operation saw the law enforcement officers work together with colleagues from Mozambique and Zimbabwe to recover a .458 rifle which has been involved in a spate of elephant killings in the sub-region. The rifle was recovered from a remote area in the northern part of Zimbabwe. The sub operation was organized following the arrest of 3 Zambian nationals with 2½ pairs of ivory. The 3 were earlier arrested at a road block which was organized jointly with officers from the Zambia Police Service.

The joint law enforcement operation was also used to facilitate the completion of investigations into two high profile cases that had been earlier initiated by ZAWA. The first case involved officers from ZAWA working together with the Zambia Police Traffic Department who on 28th February 2009 were reportedly involved in an operation that led to the arrest of 5 suspects and seizure of 72 pieces of elephant ivory and 5 pieces of rhino horn. The successful operation was reported in the press and related information was circulated to other concerned law enforcement agencies including LATF. The second case also involved officers from ZAWA and Zambia Police Service who in the same month confiscated a bag containing ivory pieces from a passenger bus that operates international routes between South Africa and Zambia. Suspects from the two cases have since been formally charged and prosecuted following support from the joint law enforcement operation.

The Director General of ZAWA, Dr. Lewis Saiwana, has praised the joint law enforcement operation as a significant milestone in the regional efforts directed at illegal trade in wild fauna and flora. Dr. Saiwana said he was pleased with the level of support given by LATF to his organization. He observed that the joint operation was a clear demonstration of how international cooperation can be effectively used to fight illegal trade in wild fauna and flora.