News From And About Africa
October 2014, Volume 12-5-II

Africa
INTERPOL has established a dedicated team to tackle illegal ivory trafficking and other environmental crimes in Africa. As part of its Regional Bureau in Nairobi, the team will collaborate with national law enforcement agencies and INTERPOL National Central Bureaus in the region to increase information exchange, support intelligence analysis and assist national and regional investigations. With the illicit trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn a major concern in Africa, the team will work with countries and partner organizations to further the activities of INTERPOL’s Project Wisdom, which combats elephant and rhinoceros poaching and the illegal trade in ivory and rhino horn. This includes capacity building initiatives and creating a regional network for environmental protection. David Higgins, Head of INTERPOL’s Environmental Security Unit, said the establishment of the environmental crime team at the Regional Bureau demonstrates INTERPOL’s dedication to offering the highest level of support to law enforcement in its member countries in disrupting the transnational criminal groups involved not only in wildlife crime, but also other serious forms of crime (source: http://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2014/N2014-196).

Namibia
Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta stated at the Conservancy Chairperson Forum that the areas of Lusese and Nakabolelwa along the Zambezi and Chobe rivers will be turned into conservancies, bringing to 81 the number of registered conservancies in the country. Trophy hunting, lodge developments, game for hunting and live game sales, game for own use and other game utilization activities continue to be the main source of income for conservancies.

Namibia
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Namibia, has been active in the fight against the illegal trade in cheetah.  During the first six months of 2014, CCF compiled 13 cases of illegal cheetah trafficking involving 37 cheetahs.  Sixteen of these cheetahs were confirmed dead, and the fate of 15 is unknown.  Of the remaining six alive cheetah, four are housed in zoos in the United Arab Emirates after confiscation, and two are being held in Ethiopia.

Southern Africa
Between 350,000 and 470,000 birds are killed accidentally or deliberately with pesticides every year in South Africa. Vultures suffer in particular, mainly as result of deliberate predator poisoning with insecticides by farmers. Farmers in South Africa have easy access to suitable chemicals. Such deadly pesticides are also repacked and sold in small quantities by street vendors without counter-action. Such poisonings, which every time affect 60 to 90 vultures, occurred in different South African provinces with similar incidents happening in neighboring countries, there often as a result of poaching. 183 vultures were killed on a single poisoned elephant in Gonarezhou/Zimbabwe, over 200 vultures in Kwando/Botswana, and 400 to 600 at an elephant poisoning site in Babwata/Namibia. Poachers are often in possession of pesticides to eradicate vultures, as those alarm the game rangers.

South Africa
8 sitatunga transferred from Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic to Johannesburg Zoo were euthanized after arrival due to a restriction on the movement of antelope species into the region from Europe. Prague Zoo’s Director commented, “We learned from the Lufthansa that the final destination of the consignment was not Johannesburg zoo, but [Mr. Clive Albutt] [who] was to deliver some animals to Johannesburg zoo in exchange for our sitatungas! [Johannesburg Zoo has declared] that it wants the [sitatunga] for themselves, while it has arranged their import for a private breeder, completely unknown to us, and without any our agreement and approval.”