On Monday 30 March 2015 the Livingstone Magistrate’s Court, Zambia sentenced five men to five years in prison each for the illegal possession of raw ivory.
The five were arrested during an undercover operation led by Zambia Wildlife Authority-ZAWA Intelligence and Investigations Unit (IIU) on 18 February 2015, working alongside GRI – Game Rangers Internationall.
The suspects were caught in possession of 14 pieces of raw ivory weighing a total of 210 kilograms. The five tried to sell the ivory to what they thought was an interested buyer. However, the buyer was an IIU undercover operative. The suspects were arrested and the ivory was confiscated. The five faced their sentence in Court after two IIU officers, who were involved in the operation, gave statements.
Zambia is home to a significant wildlife population including Elephants, Rhinos, Lions and Wild Dog, increasingly threatened by illegal killing and trafficking. Almost all of the eight countries that border Zambia form trade routes for illicit wildlife products. ZAWA are working hard to tackle this increasing ecological, economic and security threat to this peaceful and developing nation.
GRI’s work supporting ZAWA’s anti-trafficking operations in collaboration with the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project is supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare – IFAW, African Wildlife Foundation and the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.