Thursday, January 21, 2021

Ivory stolen from government wildlife depot

Daring thieves have broken into a government warehouse of the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and made away with elephant tusks that were being kept in the Department of Wildlife warehouse in Kasane.

The stolen ivory is suspected to be heading to Asian countries where the market is lucrative.
A number of wildlife officers has been questioned in relation to the mysterious disappearance of the ivory.

So far, a Zambian national has been arrested by authorizes in Zambia after he was found in possession of ivory believed to be from Botswana.

Speaking to The Sunday Standard, the coordinator for Communications Research and Development in the ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Mable Bolele, confirmed the probe on the ministry’s officials.

“Some of our officers are under police investigations following the disappearance of the ivory,” she said.

Bolele stated that about 26 elephant tusks were stolen.

She explained that they were alerted by the Zambian authorities after a suspect was arrested and found in possession of ivory that was marked ‘BWK’, meaning Botswana Wildlife Kasane.

Bolele said parts of the stolen ivory was scheduled to be transported from Kasane to Gaborone on the 14th of last month where they were to be stored.

They, however, could not be ferried to Gaborone due to lack of transport.

She further said on the 23rd of last month they discovered that some of the ivory had been stolen.

Unfortunately, they could not make sense of how the culprits gained entry into the storeroom as there was no sign of any break in.

“The security where the ivory was kept is very tight therefore we do not know how the tusks were eventually stolen but the police will probe the matter,” she said. “It is very unfortunate that such incident has occurred; the ministry will do its best to ensure that the ivory is kept very safely, which has been a priority,” she said.

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