Two Zambian poaching masterminds and illegal traffickers of elephant ivory were arrested in Kazungula area in the Southern Province of Zambia during a ten-day LATF / ZAWA sting joint law enforcement operation code named ‘KINGSTONE’. The notorious poachers who have been on ZAWA’s hot pursuit for about 10 years, were together with six other poachers under their command apprehended on 1st April 2012. They were found in illegal possession of 42 pieces of ivory weighing a total of 629.0kg, 7kg dry elephant meat, one 0.375 rifle, one AK 47 rifle and 61 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and cannabis concealed in a plastic bag.
These high profile poachers frequently operate in and target the neighbouring countries of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe for their vast elephant populations and also the big size of tusks. The hardest hit areas are Hwange and Zambezi National Parks (Zimbabwe) as well as Chobe National Park (Botswana). The operation also gathered critical intelligence which points to the fact that, elephant poaching is on the rise in the four neighboring countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
LATF calls for concerted action by the affected countries to effectively address the crisis and urges all African states to accede to the Lusaka Agreement to allow the regional body, (LATF) expand its area of intervention in addressing the challenge in Africa.
One of the poaching masterminds after being apprehended with two illegal rifles used to commit wildlife crime. In the background are the other suspects and the ivory recovered.