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Mozambican Reserve of Niassa short of resources to fight poaching 

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- The Niassa National Reserve (RNN) in Mozambique faces difficulties in reducing animal slaughter due to the limited resources it has to deal with poachers.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Fernando Macamero, the Chief Inspector at RNN, said that it is urgent to allocate more resources in the reserve as the level of animal slaughtering for horn extraction is alarming and hunters now are using heavy weapons.

“We are having many challenges in the Niassa Reserve, part of the difficulties has to do with the weak implementation of the law, and people still do not understand that poaching is a crime,” said Macamero, adding that “the government should help with more allocation of resources.”

According to the reserve watchdog, in 2017 more than 100 animals were slaughtered by poachers, and horns were extracted. Thirteen of the animals were elephants.

“I believe that with more means we could reduce the inflow of hunters,” Macamero said, “we often confiscate the instruments that hunters abandon after exchanging shots, and few times we arrest the evildoers.”

“Earlier this month, we exchanged shots with some hunters who slaughtered two elephants, we resisted and they fled, leaving about 50 horns and some weapons behind.” Macamero said.

Macamero explained that in addition to Mozambicans there are many foreigners from neighboring countries who enter the reserve to slaughter animals.

“In the few captures we have ever made, we discovered that foreigners were also involved,” he said.

“We have had many opportunities to capture the hunters, but our weapon is not good enough for us to face them. Majority of the hunters uses AK47 and we use shotguns or pistols or some other instruments without enough deterrence.” he said.

Macamero revealed that the problem faced at National Reserve of Niassa is not only from poachers, but also from illegal miners in that area.

“Mining has been an activity that tends to grow here on this reserve,” he said, “although it is easy to stop the illegal miners because they do not use weapons.”

Macamero said that in 2017, a total of 2,000 illegal miners were captured in the Niassa Reserve, most of them digging gold.

“It was very common to find more than 200 illegal miners at one time digging gold in a region. Some illegal miners are arrested and others are awaiting trial,” said the inspector considering it as a good result for the reserve, “Although they continue, at least they do it with fear.”

“The illegal miners use mercury, which can pollute the water resources for people and animals,” he said.



Hong Kong Customs seizes suspected rhino horns

HONG KONG China (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Customs Thursday seized about 2.04 kg of suspected rhino horns with an estimated market value of about 400,000 Hong Kong dollars(about 51,168 U.S.dollars) at Hong Kong International Airport.

Customs officers intercepted a 38-year-old male passenger at the airport who arrived from Maputo, Mozambique via Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this afternoon. During Customs clearance, the suspected rhino horn cut pieces painted in red and black respectively were found inside the pockets and interlining of a jacket, as well as a pair of socks in his check-in suitcase.

The man was subsequently arrested.

The case was handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department of Hong Kong for follow-up investigation.

According to Hong Kong Customs, under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of importing or exporting an endangered species without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of 5 million Hong Kong dollars (about 639,600 U.S. dollars) and imprisonment for two years.



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