The Mozambican authorities will receive training in one of the regions where more elephants die due to illegal hunting, the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) announced.
In all, 25 participants, including prosecutors, investigators from the National Criminal Investigation Service (Sernic) and officials of the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) will meet from Monday and throughout the week in Lichinga, capital of the province of Niassa.
Participants perform functions in that region, but also in the neighbouring provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula.
The PGR and international cooperation partners want everyone to be alert and ready to take action to prevent and combat poaching in the northern part of Mozambique.
Several species are under fire, but illegal elephant slaughtering is one of the most alarming in Mozambique: the number of dead animals amounts to 16,000 in seven years, in a single reserve in Niassa, with an area of 42,000 square meters – slightly larger than the entire territory of mainland Portugal south of the Tagus River.
“According to local data, in 2009 there were 20,118 elephants in the reserve, but in 2016 there were only 3,675 remaining, or about 16,443 were killed, according to data released by the Mozambican newspaper O País in September.
The rate of illegal slaughter of elephants in Mozambique is threatening the breeding of the species, said in an interview, Carlos Lopes, Director of Protection and Supervision of ANAC.
“We continue to lose elephants at a rate that, if not radically altered, will lead to extinction or, at least, to the unfeasibility of the populations of this species,” he said.
The lack of prosecutors is cited as one of the main difficulties in curbing poachers.
The PGR and partners believe that the training next week is equally important to “improve efficiency in the implementation of the new law on conservation of biodiversity and in the procedural processing of cases of crimes against wildlife,” says the source of the institution.
The training will focus on the identification of crimes and criminal networks, witness protection, impact statements and investigative techniques.
On the other hand, it is intended to improve the articulation between services, in this case, “improve the mechanisms of interaction between the Public Prosecution Service, Sernic agents and ANAC inspectors during the investigation of criminal cases against wildlife.”
The action to be taken in Lichinga is part of the Project to Combat Crimes Against Wildlife in Mozambique, initialled by the PGR and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), through funds from the German Government for US cooperation and the Office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).