Rangers acquire skills to investigate environmental crimes

The National Administration of Conservation Areas is concerned about cases of release of individuals accused of committing environmental crimes by paying a deposit, which often does not exceed one tenth of the value of the purchase of the weapon used.
The information was made public by the General Director of ANAC, Mateus Mutemba, who spoke on Thursday (16) in Maputo, at the opening of the two days seminar to train rangers of conservation areas regarding issues related to evidence collection in the place of crime against the environment.
Inserted in the framework of actions to combat poaching and illegal trade of wildlife products, the event aimed to improve the ability of technicians to identify evidence of crime, focusing on fingerprinting techniques using modern equipment.
Despite the efforts of different actors in the fight against poaching, which has been resulting in an increase of cases of conviction of furtive persons for greater prison terms, the authorities remain concerned about the indices of impunity cases against wildlife crimes.
According to Mutemba, impunity results in the loss of several species of wildlife, in the case of the elephant that in the last eight years its population has reduced by 53 per cent, with focus on Niassa National Reserve, which registered a decrease in the order of 60 per cent.
It is estimated that in the last five years at least 65 leopards, 80 lions, 44 hyenas and 25 wild dogs have been slaughtered in the Niassa reserve, using silent methods, consisting in use of traps and ties, to support the illegal trade in bones, nails and teeth of these species.
Another concern has is related to rhino hunting in the transboundary areas between Mozambique and South Africa, with data indicating the loss of about 7,000 animals from 2008 to this part.
The rhino is almost non-existent species in Mozambican conservation areas, and the few that still cross border to Mozambique coming from South Africa, do not survive for more than 48 hours.
In the first six months of this year alone, 260 rhinos, an average of one rhino per day, were illegally slaughtered, resulting in the conviction of a little over 65 Mozambican citizens sentenced to prison terms ranging from 8 to 24 years.
Official data from the first half indicate an increase in pouching activity, including incursions, in cross-border conservation areas from 638 to 759 cases, corresponding to 18.9 percent compared to the same period in 2017.
The training organized by ANAC in partnership with the British High Commission and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) comes in response to the need to train technicians dealing with environmental crime issues that the mozambican government has been preserving so that the next generations have access to the ecological goods and services that the nature offers.