Maputo — So far this year, poachers have killed at least 52 elephants in the Niassa Reserve, in the far north of Mozambique, according to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.
Last year, the poachers, many of whom have crossed the border from Tanzania, killed 72 elephants in the reserve. Usually, the poachers hack off the tusks, and leave the elephants’ bodies to rot in the bush.
Speaking at a rally chaired by Niassa provincial governor, David Malizane, at Matondovela, in Mecula district, where the reserve is located, local residents said they frequently stumbled across the bodies of the slain animals.
Malizane urged members of the public to participate actively in the conservation of natural resources, and to denounce those who pillage forestry, mineral and wild life resources.
“Some steal timber. Others take out semi-precious stones. We should not allow these traffickers to continue delapidating our wealth”, declared the governor.
The major problem facing the authorities in the Niassa reserve is that there are not enough wardens to patrol the vast area of the reserve effectively, and it is very easy for poachers to slip across the long and porous border between Mozambique and Tanzania.