In a significant victory against wildlife poaching in Africa, a Mozambican judge has sentenced notorious rhino poacher and gang leader Admiro Chauque to 30 years in prison. He was also ordered to pay 28 years’ worth of fines after being convicted of multiple crimes relating to the illegal wildlife trade and possession of weapons in Mozambique and South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
The Southern African nation of Mozambique has been imposing stricter penalties on poachers in recent years, culminating in the record sentencing of Chauque. In Zimbabwe, where the poaching epidemic is believed to have begun in 2008, there is a nine-year minimum sentence for poachers. In South Africa, where poaching is rampant, there is no minimum sentence.
According to Save the Rhino, one rhino is slaughtered every day in South Africa for its horn. It estimates that a total of 9,985 African rhinos have lost their lives to the scourge.
“Animal Survival International (ASI) applauds the Mozambican government and judiciary for taking a stand against the detestable illegal wildlife trade and welcomes the sentencing of one of Africa’s worst offenders,” says campaigner Tayla Lance of ASI.
“However, it is of great concern that South African legislators are not treating the issue with the urgency needed. We call upon the South African government to create a five-year minimum sentence for poaching.”
Image Credit: World Animal News.com