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Market Research Group

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Arthur Panov
Arthur Panov

Zimbabwe’s Tough Stance On Pangolin Trafficking Commended ^HOT^

Judges' comments: A well-written report that draws on in-depth investigations across multiple countries to reveal the full story of the illegal pangolin trade. Written by a team of 28 journalists from Africa and Asia, it weaves together a series of narratives to shed light on the impetus for the trade, who is doing what, trafficking routes, methods used by traffickers, law enforcement actions to stop them and gaps in both our knowledge and efforts.

Zimbabwe’s tough stance on pangolin trafficking commended

The market for rhino horns is greatest in Far Eastern countries, specifically China and Vietnam. Live animal traffickers tend to use direct flights to transport the animals, but rhino horn traffickers are more likely to move contraband through circuitous routes and airports, which they regard to have inadequate detection methods and insufficient knowledge on smuggling methods. Rhino horn traffickers are also able to exploit legal loopholes for the import and export of trophies, smuggling rhino horn or other illegal wildlife products as legal wildlife commodities. Poachers and traffickers in the Xaysavang Network (an international wildlife trafficking syndicate facilitating the killing of endangered elephants, rhinos, pangolins, and other species, for products such as ivory and rhino horn9) had horns from poached rhinos mounted as hunting trophies for export by taxidermists. The trophies provided the cover for getting the horn from South Africa into Asia, where it entered the black market as rhino horn for medicinal purposes.10

Pangolins are currently the most trafficked wild animal. Their meat is considered a delicacy, their scales are used in traditional medicine and their skin processed into leather products. Little information exists on the global trafficking routes used to transport these pangolins, but leading non-governmental organisation, TRAFFIC, identified China and the United States of America to be the most common destinations for international pangolin trafficking, while Europe was identified as an important transit hub for African pangolins. Whole animals were significantly more likely to be transported by land, relative to the other transport modes and commodities, and large-quantity shipments involving whole animals tend to be exclusively traded within Asia.11

In some countries, wildlife laws only protect animals indigenous to their jurisdictions, and thus wildlifeor plant products originating from other countriescan be moved legally. This creates a haven for traffickers to use these destinations as transit hubs. Routes used by other illicit networks are also used for wildlife trafficking, where it is often found together with weapons or drugs. In some instances, goods are bartered as payment (e.g. the sale of illegal wildlife for drugs) making it very difficult to trace illicit activity unless it is picked up by public officials at ports of entry or exit. Syndicates frequently rely on a network of complicit officials, including custom officials, immigration, or port personnel, across source, transit and destination countries in order to avoid detection. Syndicates often engage with prospective buyers through private groups on social media platforms or via encrypted mobile messaging platforms.

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Amara Cherif, a/k/a "Bamba Issiaka," a citizen of Guinea, was sentenced to 57 months for conspiring to traffic in millions of dollars in rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, both endangered wildlife species, which involved the illegal poaching of more than approximately 35 rhinoceros and more than 100 elephants. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Gregory H. Woods. Attachment Size USDepartment of Justice_2022_12_Wildlife trafficker sentenced to 57 months for large_scale trafficking of rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory_USDepartment of Justice.pdf 204.89 KB See full details of this Report Tuesday, 13 December 2022Keswa L 2022. Two men arrested for illegal possession of pangolin.After receiving a tip-off from a whistleblower, two men were arrested for illegal possession of a pangolin in Alberton on December 11. 350c69d7ab


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