Celso Correia, Mozambican Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development said at commemorations of the World Wildlife Day that the government is currently working on a proposal to increase the penalties for poachers “who are, in reality, environmental aggressors.”
The southern African country had been under growing pressure to take a tougher stance against poachers.
Earlier in 2013, Mozambique was singled out at the international meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), for its lack of action on poaching, followed with a wave of criticism from international organizations including the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in the next year.
The country began to show its determination by passing a law in June, 2014, toughening penalties for poaching, including hefty fines and jail terms up to 12 years for killing protected species.
The country’s latest elephant census has shown that between 2009 and 2014, elephant population in Mozambique had fallen by 48 percent, from over 20,000 in 2009 to 10,300 in 2014.
However, according to Carlos Bento, a biologist from Mozambique’s prestige Eduardo Mondlane University, who was quoted by the state news agency AIM Thursday, that the real number of elephants in Mozambique is not more than 5,000. Enditem