This study was made possible thanks to the participation of various persons, who offered up their time, knowledge and information. Some of the names that we would like to mention in particular are Abdul Remane, Abel Nhabanga, Adamo Valy, Afonso Antunes, Alastair Nelson, Alessandro Fusari, Aly Mulla, Angela Hogg, Carlos Lopes Pereira, Cornélio Ntumi, Francisco Pariela, Ghislain Rieb, Graham Cawood, Major Gustavo, Jerónimo Mombe, João Andina, João Raposeiro, Jorge Chacate, Julião Cuambe, Leonardo Simão, Marcelino Foloma, Pacheco Faria, Paulo Candeia, Pejule Sebastião, Rafael Funzana, Sesinando Mambo, e Vernon Booth.
We would like to thank António Abacar, Antony Alexander and Billy Swanepoel of the Limpopo National Park; Mateus Mutemba and Pedro Muagura of the Gorongosa National Park and Baldeu Chande of the Quirimbas National Park for all their support, with regard to sharing information, discussions on the topic, as well as organising meetings with other relevant local organizations.
Harith Morgadinho is to be acknowledged for all his support and efforts in the organization and setting up the interviews in Pemba, as well as for his comments in this study. Carlos Serra Júnior is also to be thanked for his valued contribution to the section on the legal and judiciary system in this report.
We would also like to thank Serene Chng for sharing information on the topic and for the relevant documents, Christine Tam for the information shared on the Africa- China market, and Swapnil Chaudhari for the maps on the loss of forestry. I would also like to thank the following persons for the comments and suggestions they made on the report: Carlos Lopes Pereira, Cornélio Miguel, Cornélio Ntumi, Pacheco Faria and Sean Nazerali.
A special thank you to Anabela Rodrigues, Rito Mabunda, Eusébio Pequenino and Alvo Ofumane of the WWF Mozambique and to Jo Shaw, of WWF South Africa for all the support given during this study; and to Luis Barnardo Honwana and Alexandra Jorge from BIOFUND for their support in organising the conference at which this report was presented.
AfRSG African Rhinoceros Specialist Group
AIM Aeroporto Internacional de Maputo (Maputo International Airport)
onservation Societylephantsão Nacional das Áreas de Conservação (National Administration of Conservation Areas)
CFJJ Centro de Formação Jurídico Judiciário(Centre for Judical Legal Training)
CITES Convenção sobre o Comércio Internacional de Espécies de Fauna e Flora Selvagem Ameaçadas de Extinção (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora )
DNTF Direcção Nacional de Terras e Florestas(National Directorate of Lands and Forestry)
ETIS Sistema de Informação do Comércio de Elefante ( The Elephant Trade Information System)
FEIMA Feira de Artesanato, Flores e Gastronomia (Crafts, Flower and Food Fair)
ICCWC Consórcio Internacional para o Combate ao Crime à Vida Selvagem (International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime)
IGF Foundation Internationale pour la Gestion de la Faune(International Foundation of Wildlife Management)
INTERPOL Organização da Polícia Criminal Internacional (International Police Organization)
LATF Lusaka Agreement Task Force
MICOA Ministério para a Coordenação da Acção Ambiental (Ministry of Coordination of Environmental Affairs)
MIKE Monitoring Illegal Killing of Elephants
MINAG Ministério da Agricultura (Ministry of Agriculture)
OGE Orçamento Geral do Estado (General State Budget)
ONG Organizações Não Governamentais (Non- Governmental Organizations)
PIKE Proportion of Illegally Killed Elephants
PNK Parque Nacional do Kruger (Kruger National Park)
PNL Parque Nacional do Limpopo (Limpopo National Park)
PPF Peace Park Foundation
PRM Policia da República de Moçambique (Mozambican Republic Police)
SMART Spatial Monitoring and Report Tool
TRAFFIC Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network
TRAPS Trafficking Response, Assessment and Priority Setting
UICN União Internacional para a Conservação da Natureza (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
UNODC Escritórios das Nações Unidas de Drogas e Crime (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime)
USAID US Agency for International Development
WCO Organização Mundial das Alfândegas(World Customs Organization)
WCS Wildlife Conservation Society
WWF World Wildlife Fund
The African Elephant and Rhinoceros populations, two icons of the continent's wildlife, face one of the largest crisis of the last decades. Various studies, reports and aerial counts have revealed rather alarming trends in the number of poaching cases that have threatened these two wildlife species. Mozambique has been a target of this crisis, emerging as one of the main areas for poached ivory and the transiting of Rhinoceros horns in Africa.
In order to deal with this crisis, Mozambique needs to conduct interventions that require the collaboration and participation of various parties; from Government to the private sector and society. Some of these parties are already investing effort and resources in various areas and specific strategies, even though they still need to be recognized and strengthened through an interchange. This report aims to contribute to this by highlighting the experiences and opinions of the various parties with regard to poaching and illegal trade of endangered species, especially, the elephant and rhinoceros. About 50 people were contacted during the months of March to May and they shared relevant information, facts and recommendations. Hopefully the results of this report will assist in one way to obtain a better understanding of the current poaching crisis situation and the ongoing activities, and, on the other hand, to list some of the principal recommendations that are aimed at reversing the current poaching situation and illegal trafficking of endangered species in the country.
The two species of Rhinoceros that inhabit the African Continent - the White Rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) and the Black Rhinoceros ((Diceros bicornis) - are again being threatened by poaching. Up to the 1970's there were a vast number of Black and White Rhinoceroses found throughout Mozambique; today there are none; with the exception of a few that may be found scattered along the border of the Kruger National Park, South Africa and Mozambique. It is fact that the Black and White Rhinoceros population in Mozambique became extinct due to poaching.
The alarming increase in poaching levels of the rhinoceros is mainly due to the increase in the market demands. The main areas that have been a target of poaching activities are those with the greater populations of Black and White Rhinoceros, for example the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Mozambique, bordering with this Park, has been emerging as having one of the main sources of poachers operating in this neighbouring country.
The way in which the rhinoceros poaching takes place, leads one to believe that there are well organised and structured syndicates in existence, involving high monetary values, facilitating the corruption and enticement young unemployed people into criminal activities. The number of poaching weapons seized by the Limpopo National Park has increased, and the fact that most of these weapons are linked to government security and protection institutions, highlights the gravity of the situation. For example, one of the weapons belonging to the Police of Massingir District were seized three consecutive times in poaching activities in the Limpopo National Park.
There have been several newspaper articles exposing the complicity of the Border Guards and the Mozambican Republic Police in poaching. In 2014 the entire Massingir Police Unit was restructured due to its involvement in poaching activities. Complicity is rife amongst the staff of the Limpopo National Park and some scouts and senior officials were recently fired for their involvement in this kind of illegal activity.
As a result of weak law enforcement activities, and with the ease in which these products enter and move within the country, Mozambique is emerging as a profitable entrepot for the transiting and exportation of rhinoceros horns to the Asian market. Although these products are not easily detected at the ports and airports of Mozambique, the customs authorities have been registering an increasing number of seized goods. For example, at the Maputo International Airport, 20 Rhinoceros horns were seized in 2013, and just within the first quarter of 2014, 6 Rhinoceros horns have already been seized.
In Africa, the elephant population is estimated to be between 419.000 and 650.000, with over half concentrated in Southern Africa; Botswana containing the majority of the population of elephants of the region (about 133.088 were estimated in 2012). Mozambique has a population of elephants estimated to be about 22.300 (2011), with about 70% concentrated in only two areas of the country (the Niassa National Reserve and the Mágoé District). Other populations of elephants occur in the country but mostly small and fragmented populations, and in most of the cases it is possible to notice the transboundary trend of this species with the neighbouring countries of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.
The African elephant has been the target of an increasing wave of poaching, mainly to feed the Asian market, especially China, with ivory tusks for ornamental purposes. The data gathered by the MIKE programme shows that around 7.4 % of the whole population of African elephants have been illegally killed throughout the Continent. These figures are extremely alarming as they are above the natural growth rate of elephants, thereby placing in risk the sustainability of the wildlife species. MIKE statistics show that the number of poaching activities has increased throughout the years, and this is of great concern. There have been reports of Zimbabwean poachers in the Mágoè District using toxic substances such as cyanide to poison elephant waterholes and feeding points. In 2013, data collected by MIKE for the Mágoè District showed that half of the elephant carcases found had been poisoned.
There has been a significant increase in the number of poaching incidents in the Niassa National Reserve, which is very concerning. Between 2009 and 2011, the estimated number of carcasses from the aerial counts tripled, from 756 to 2.365 respectively. Not only did the number of carcasses increase but the trend in elephant slaughter changed, and pointed towards the trends of very experienced poachers coming from Tanzania. The Niassa National Reserve has also registered various cases that show: i) the support and involvement of local communities in elephant poaching activities and ii) the concerning use of weapons belonging to Border Officials and the Mozambican Republic Police.
Ivory is very often transited out of the country either via the border or via airports and ports. In January of 2011, for example, a wooden container containing 126 ivory tusks (i.e. 63 elephants illegally killed), bound for Asia, was seized at the port of Pemba. Bearing in mind that, normally, only a small percentage (5%) of containers are inspected and the methods of detecting smuggled ivory (for example, sniffer dogs) are not used, the challenges for an effective law enforcement system are high.
China is the main destination for the export of ivory from East Africa, and has been consistently identified by CITES among the countries mostly involved in the illegal ivory trade. However, the demand for ivory is complex, and it is important to obtain the correct information in order to ascertain a proper understanding of how the market works. A recent study by the Chinese conservationist, Gao Yufang, helps to better understand the demand and the markets in China; this may assist the various interested parties in targeting interventions to combat the illegal trade of wildlife.
Ivory also finds a domestic market, specially in the country's local craft fairs. Just in the city capital, it is common to find ivory being sold at its two main fairs - "Feira do Pau" (a fair that takes place every Saturday at the 25 de Junho Square) and "Feira de Artesanato, Flores e Gastronomia" - FEIMA (Craft, Flower and Food Fair; open every day and situated at the Jardim dos Continuadores).
The main causes that lead to the increase in poaching and illegal trade are complex and interlinked. The MIKE programme produced a statistic evaluation on this topic, comparing various ecological, biophysical and socio-economical factors on local, national and global levels. The three principal factors that were pointed out include poverty on a local level, governance on a national level and the demand for ivory and rhinoceros horns at a global level. The interviewees in this study are of the opinion that the principal factors behind the increasing levels of poaching and illegal trade in Mozambique include:
Weak valuing of the Conservationsector
Weak State Law Enforcement Capacity
Lack of Institutional Coordination
Legal and Judicial Framework
Improvement in Communication and Connectivity
Population growth within the Parks and Reserves
Human - Elephant Conflict
Principal Conventions, Agreements and Programmes
There have been a series of conventions, agreements and programmes established on both a global and a regional level in order to reinforce partnerships and synergies between the countries, in an effort to combat the poaching and illegal trade of elephants and rhinoceroses. Mozambique is signatory to some main international conventions, such as, CITES and the Convention for Biological Diversity. The country has also participated in some important global events on this topic, having reafirmed its commitment at the recent London Declaration on the Illegal Wildlife Trade.
On a regional level, despite Mozambique not being signatory on the Lusaka Agreement on the Co-operative Enforcement Operations, it has cooperated with operations performed by the Agreement Task Force (example, operation Cobra II). In addition, Mozambique and South Africa signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at strengthening the co-operation between the two countries in matters regarding the protection and enforcement of biodiversity.
On a national level, Mozambique established a Task Force in 2011 which included various Ministries, with the objective of introducing ways of reinforcing the protection of natural resources and the environment. The formation of this type of Task Force is recommended by some international institutions such as INTERPOL, although most of the interviewees suggested that this Task Force needs to be more participative, and to include other relevant sectors of society. In 2014, this Task Force prepared the "National Resources and Environment Protection Programme" which analyses the countries loss of natural resources and suggests measures to combat the illegal exploitation of the country's natural resources. Some of these recommendations were taken into consideration in this report.
The main parties that have been responsible for interventions with regard to anti- poaching and the illegal marketing of the species are the Government, the private sector, the donors and non-governmental organizations. Some of these parties have more direct interventions (e.g. in the administration of Conservation Areas, management of the Coutadas and Hunting Areas, prevention and combating of crime, functioning of courts, etc), others more indirect (e.g. providing financial and technical resources). A summary of the main interventions in place, which were referred to during meetings or in available reports, is as follows.
Judicial System Intervention
The Public Ministry intervenes in matters of poaching and illegal trade whenever there are legal issues, such as, the rules of forests and wildlife. However, the presence of the Public Prosecutor at a District level is still not high enough, having in most cases only one magistrate per District. In reality, the prosecutor lacks the necessary expertise in environmental issues, affecting his/her ability to intervene successfully in complex and demanding issues such as the prevention and combating of poaching and trade of protected wildlife species.
Up until July 2013, the Centre for Legal and Judicial Training held a series of courses which were aimed at strengthening the understanding, communication and coordination of activities to prevent and stop offenses to natural resources. One of the key issues that was specifically addressed in the training program was poaching, particularly in the districts with Conservation Areas. However, with the increasing number of Districts, movement of staff and increasing magnitude and severity of some offenses, it would be important for the Centre to continue to conduct more courses of this nature.
In terms of law enforcement, the scouts are protected and guided by their Statutes. However, the same does not apply to sworn-in and community-based scouts. For these, there is no specific statute that governs the mandate, rights and duties in the exercise of supervisory activities. Despite the limitations, community agents and the communities in general are invited to protect the natural resources. The Forestry and Wildlife Regulation predicts that 50% of the value of the fines in respect of violations are taken by the agents who seize the goods. However, in the last 12 years, since the adoption of the this law, there are still very little cases of community agents or members who have received compensation for their assistance in reporting any infringement to forest or fauna.
In April 2014 the Parliament of Mozambique approved a new law with regard to the Conservation Areas, with the primary purpose of reorganizing the country's management system of these conservation areas. This law introduces prison sentences for offenders to protected and endangered wildlife species, and prison sentences are based on the severity of the offence. From the moment that the law becomes effective, penalties of imprisonment (from 8 to 12 years) may be applied to offenders who have shot any protected wildlife species without a license. The majority of interviewees consider this a very positive change, but there is still some concern with regard to the manpower available in the Conservation Areas to cope with different situations resulting from the implementation of this law (for example, corruption and more violent confrontations between the poachers and the rangers).
The main intervention force in the detection and apprehension of poaching activities in conservation areas are the scouts. Recent figures estimate that there are currently about 489 scouts for all Parks and Reserves. This refers to the total number of existing scouts, however, effectively there are only about 274 officials available who perform their duties effectively (as one needs to take into account absences, days off and holidays). This allows for a coverage area of about 315 km2 per scout, a density 6 times lower than recommended (50 km2 per scout).
The private sector, involved in the management of the Coutadas and Game Farms, also takes on a very important role in the protection of resources under its guardianship. In the operating Coutadas alone there are 371 effective scouts.
The level of the training of the scout force in the Conservation Areas (including the scouts in the Coutadas) is, in general, low and limited. Some interviewees raised the concern that there is a need for specific training, such as in investigations and intelligence, in certain areas. This would help in the identification and analysis of the poaching activities, enhancing the efficiency of interventions. This lack of proper expertise restricts the ability to predict criminal activity, and thus results in a reactive rather than preventive attitude from the concerned scout force.
The Conservation Areas also need to introduce management systems for its law enforcement force, in order for them to effectively monitor the effectiveness of patrols and manage staff according to situations that arise. A majority of the interviewees are of the opinion that a more effective and efficient management of the scout force is much more relevant that simply increasing the number of scouts.
The type of equipment and infrastructure available to the law enforcement force varies widely from area to area. In general, most do not have adequate infrastructure and equipments to deal with actual pressurizing situations that arise, therefore impacting in the scouts motivation to exercise their functions effectively. In addition, almost none of the Conservation Areas make use of sophisticated technologies to support law enforcement activities; depending solely on the capabilities of its human resources.
These poor conditions that exist in the Parks and Reserves are also a reflection of the restrictions of the State Budget. Instead of receiving approximately 6.5 million dollars per year that is needed for effective law enforcement management, the Parks and Reserves receive an annual budget of about 1 million dollars. This budget constraints affect the ability of the Parks and Reserves to manifest themselves as effective areas for conservation of the country’s biodiversity.
Detections and seizing of illegal trade of goods at border points are generally conducted by the customs authorities. The Customs conducts operations to detect illegal transiting of ivory and rhinoceros horns, having already made some arrests in the airports of Maputo, Beira and Pemba, as well as in the ports of Maputo, Nacala and Pemba. However, the technology currently available is still not adequate to detect products such as ivory and rhinoceros horns. This results in a dependency on denunciation and the intervention capacity of customs officials, who have inadequate training in matters relating to poaching and illegal trade of endangered wildlife. Even with a certain degree of knowledge, it is increasingly difficult to detect the products, which are often very well hidden in bags, and are well disguised (eg. sliced or crushed powder). This raises the need to invest in other forms of detection that go beyond human capabilities (e.g. the use of sniffer dogs).
Sensitization and Benefits
The interviewees unanimously agreed that raising awareness and educating the society as a whole, including those in the political and governmental sectors, is of an utmost importance. This has also been an area that has received the least attention, without a structured programme. Certain sectors have reported that they have conducted awareness campaigns but there has been no follow up to ascertain the impact and advantages of these campaigns.
Most who were interviewed point as the main benefits of Conservation Areas to local communities, the sharing of 20% of its revenues. However, besides the major operational issues and the management of the 20% revenue, some interviewees question the communities' perception of the connection between these benefits and the Conservation Areas. It is important to have some kind of monitoring and evaluation system on the impact of this 20% revenue with regard to the reduction of poverty and the connection to the conservation of biodiversity. Some of the Safari Operators indicated their contribution in terms of cooperative social responsibility, providing meat, equipment (e.g. milling equipment) and infrastructures (e.g. schools and dams). There still exists, however, the need to establish examples of good initiatives where the communities are effectively involved in the management, benefiting from the existence and cohabitation with the wildlife. The new Conservation Areas Law introduces some new categories of conservation areas that allows the regulation of these kinds of initiatives. Now remains the need for initiatives that translate this legislation into action on the ground.
The current interventions to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade are not working, given the fact that the trends show a worrying exponential growth pattern. It is, therefore necessary, and urgent, to adopt new strategies in order to reverse the scenario. There is a shared belief that, given the complexity of the matter, the interventions that need to take place should address the different value chain involved. In order to deal with the crisis, the interventions should not solely be the State's responsibility, requiring the support of the private sector, non-government organisations, donors and civil society.
The various recommendations that were made by the interviewed parties during this study, as well as those referred to in other related reports, have been grouped into 3 main different types of interventions - Law Enforcement Interventions, Awareness Interventions and Community based Interventions. These interventions were presented and discussed during a Workshop that took place on 18th and 19th June 2014, in Maputo, which was attended by over 60 people, including many of the parties that participated in the study. From the list of recommendations, the following three interventions were identified as needing the most urgent attention.
Interventions in Law enforcement
To reinforce the capacities of the Law Enforcement Force in the Conservation Areas - in terms of effectiveness, as well as in quality of training, provision of equipment and the appropriate technology.
Awareness at governmental and political levels - encouraging public statements that raise awareness with regard to the negative impacts of poaching on the country's image and international reputation, on economic development - especially on tourism, on national security by way of the presence of foreign and local illegal armed groups and the establishment of crime networks as well as important biological and ecological impacts.
Community - based Interventions
Introduction of community -based initiatives and mechanisms for managing wildlife - exploring, amongst other things, the opportunities of the new Law of Conservation.
II.Trends in illegal traDe and poaching in Mozambique 14