Sophisticated technology makes wildlife trafficking rackets hard to curb- Kitandula

ARUSHA: THE Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Dunstan Kitandula has said wildlife poaching and trafficking has taken a serious turn, advancing into modern technology thus making the task of dealing with the crime more difficult.

He said “in the recent days, more wildlife products such as elephant tusks, rhino horns and pangolin scales have been illegally shipped from Africa to Asia and Far East countries through sophisticated systems,” Mr Kitandula said.

Mr Kitandula was speaking during the ongoing Regional Training on Reducing Maritime Trafficking of Wildlife between Africa and Asia, organized by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force and the U.S based, Grace Farms Foundation.

He said wildlife trafficking in addition to threatening biodiversity, is also contributing to stifling good governance and costs governments great losses as dealers usually evade paying taxes.

“Negative effects of wildlife trafficking cut across all sectors, affecting the economy, environment as well as culture,” he said.

For his part, Director of the Lusaka Agreement taskforce, Edward Phiri explained that pangolins have become the recent addition to the list of highly sought after species by wildlife traffickers.

“Pangolins are already extinct in Asia and now wildlife traffickers have started smuggling the creatures from Africa taking them to Asia where they are being killed, mostly for their scales,” stated.

Mr Phiri added that some of the pangolins get shipped to the Far East, especially China where they happen to be popular delicacies in hotels and restaurants.

In addressing Wildlife trafficking, experts here say it requires the use of specialized tools, such as controlled deliveries, to infiltrate the complex criminal networks involved in these illicit activities.

During the training, participants from Kenya, Tanzania and Cambodia were equipped with hands-on experience through a practical exercise on controlled deliveries.

They also received valuable insights through presentations covering undercover operations, financial investigations, and the application of DNA forensic science in ivory related cases.

“Additionally, we are committed to providing mentorship to law enforcement officers from Cambodia, Kenya, and Tanzania,” said the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources who graced the occasion.

Meanwhile the Lusaka Agreement Task Force also has a series of upcoming activities, including providing training in digital forensics and analysis, including the provision of digital investigation tools and equipment.

“We will convene in Naivasha, Kenya, in the third week of October, where participants from Malawi, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia will come together to enhance their capabilities in evidence data collection and analysis techniques, information management in crucial areas,” said Edward Phiri.

Related Articles

Back to top button