‘Unite in fight against illegal wildlife traffic’

Addressing delegates at a law enforcement-training workshop hosted by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Tom Millken, director, Traffic East/Southern Africa (TESA), called on all southern African countries to increase exchange programmes on the curbing of illegal wildlife trafficking in the region.

“Countries in the Southern African Development Community region have similar problems as far as illegal wildlife trafficking is concerned, this therefore signals the need for greater co-operation and increased idea sharing between wildlife law enforcement bodies from all countries in the region,” said Millken.

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority director general, Morris Mtsambiwa, told New Ziana that illegal wildlife trafficking, like any other form of illegal trade, greatly tarnishes the image of the country as a whole and of the law enforcing apparatus in particular.

“Wildlife trading contributes greatly to our economy, illegal trading and poaching, if unchecked, may force the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to classify some of our wild life like elephants under appendix one and this will mean we will not benefit much economically from the species,” he said.

TESA representative, Adam Pires, also noted the need for collective resource mobilization if the war on illegal wildlife and plant trafficking is to be won.

“We need to be as united, organised and as sophisticated as the syndicates that are involved in illegal animal trafficking and not afraid to make alliances,” he said.

Delegates at the three-day conference include members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, customs officials, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and representatives from INTERPOL.

Delegates at the conference, with the aid of legal experts from the Judicial College of Zimbabwe, took the opportunity to scrutinise the effectiveness of Zimbabwe’s wildlife laws in curbing illegal wildlife trade and concluded that the Parks and Wildlife Act and the various wildlife and statutory instruments were largely adequate to curb illegal wildlife and plant trading. ‘ New Ziana.

June 2006
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