(Xinhua) -- The International
Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has emphasized
the need to combat wildlife trafficking involving
criminal networks operating in Eastern, Central and West
Davyth Stewart, Coordinator with
Interpol’s Environmental Security Programme, said
combating the trafficking in wildlife products like
wooden logs and charcoal, would have massive benefits to
local communities, which require law enforcement
agencies to work together.
"I see the work that can be done by the law
enforcement agencies in controlling the exploitation of
natural resources to have a lot of benefits to local
communities if we work together to cut off local supply
chains," Stewart told Xinhua in an interview on the
sidelines of the UN Environment Assembly.
According to the Interpol, Somalia’s Al-Shabaab
previously controlled trade in charcoal products within
the territories under its control. However, the group
lost control over some of the areas to a combined force
of the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) and the Somali Army
under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Stewart said the shifting control that the Al-Shabaab
has had in the past over the territory in Somalia has
been weakened by the "constant battle for power" between
the AMISOM and the Kenyan troops.
"Their involvement in charcoal trade also shifts
depending on the territory where charcoal moves.
"When they lose the territory, they lose the profits.
Charcoal trade is one of the things that certainly was a
source of profits for the Al-Shabaab depending on
whether or not they reclaim control of territory."
The illegal trade in wildlife products is one of the
main issues that has dominated the discussions at the
UNEA meeting, which kicked off on May 23 and was due to
end on May 27.
Stewart said Interpol’s Counter-Terrorism Unit was
currently taking an interest in the movement of Al-Shabaab
fighters between East to West and Central Africa.
"They are certainly trying to spread their influence
westwards and into Central Africa. This is an ongoing
issue and the battle for territorial control as well,"
"There are suggestions of Al-Shabaab and terrorist
groups generally involved in wildlife crimes and natural
resource exploitation, not just in Kenya, but further
west, trying to control trade, not just in charcoal, but
other wildlife products," Stewart said.
seize illegal ivory in Madrid home
MADRID Spain (Xinhua) --
Spanish police have seized 74
elephant tusks from a home in Madrid.
The tusks, which weigh a total of 744 kg and have a
reported value of around 240,000 U.S. dollars, come from
the endangered African bush elephant Loxodonta Africana,
a species whose numbers have been severely hit by
illegal hunting and which is protected by an agreement
signed by 179 countries.
The joint investigation with authorities from
Mozambique began in March after suspicions were aroused
when Spanish officials were informed by trade inspectors
that someone was attempting to legalize the sale of the
The person, who has not been named, said the tusks
were an inheritance and dated back to the 1970s, while
attempting to back this up with the relevant hunting
Spanish police and Mozambique authorities discovered
the permit was from 2016 and allowed for the killing of
just one elephant and not the 37 needed to supply 74
The Spanish Civil Guard seized the tusks and has
charged the person responsible with smuggling,
falsifying documents and offences against endangered
In a statement, the Civil Guard said the seizure
"contributes to reducing the poaching of species for
international trade," adding that the investigation
shows "the illegal trafficking of protected, wild
animals, considered by the proper authorities to be the
third biggest illegal criminal activity worldwide."
Trafficking in protected animals is worth an
estimated 8-20 billion euros (8.94-22.36 billion U.S.
dollars) per year, police said.
Namibia vows to
campaign against hunting ban
WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) --
Namibia has vowed to oppose
any calls on the banning or restricting hunting and
exporting of wildlife products.
According to Cabinet minutes made available Thursday,
the environment ministry was instructed to actively
campaign against any attempts to ban or restrict hunting
and exporting of wildlife products.
Government ministers and officials were also
encouraged to participate in the campaign by supporting
the decision whenever they engage at international fora.
"Cabinets supports the Ministry of Environment and
Tourism in its efforts to engage with partners in
conservation and development in intensifying measures
aimed at stopping wildlife crimes," the minutes said.
To this end, the minutes further said, a code of
conduct for conservation hunting is being developed
accompanied by improvements in the regulation of hunting
and strengthening the link between hunting and