Saturday, January 21, 2017

10 Infamous Elephant Poachers

Conservationists fear that approximately 96 elephants are killed every single day for their ivory tusks. A single large tusk can sell on the black market for six thousand dollars, ten times the annual salary of a typical worker in the same region. In 2016, The Great Elephant Census reported results of a multi-year effort to count elephants in 18 African countries and the results were very disheartening. The census found that savanna elephant populations declined by thirty percent, almost two hundred thousand elephants between 2007 and 2014. The number one reason for the decline, illegal poaching for the animals’ ivory tusks.
Yang Feng Glan
In 2015, authorities in Africa arrested the “Queen of Ivory” after Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit had followed Yang Feng Glan for over a year. She had been traveling between Beijing, Uganda, and Tanzania, facilitating the illegal tusk trade. She was the key link between African poachers and buyers in China, where ivory can be sold for very expensive prices.
Appearing in court in October 2015, Glan was charged with smuggling ivory, seven hundred and six elephant tusks worth approximately three million dollars between 2000 and 2014. Authorities suspect she could have been engaging in the illegal trade dating all the way back to 1980. Being right in the middle of the illegal operation, investigators are hoping Glan will help them identify other key players in the trade, leading to more arrests and protecting the elephants and rhinos from further poaching.
Jean-Phillippe Nkaga
Determined to be the owner of thirty-seven pounds of ivory that had been seized, Jean-Phillippe Nkaga was arrested in December 2013. Three poachers detained by police months before named Nkaga as the owner of the illegal ivory. Nkaga is known by local police for organizing the mass slaughter of elephants and coordinating the trafficking of the resultant ivory. Nkaga had previously been in jail for possession of drugs and firearms, assault, and even a murder in which there was not enough evidence to jail him for a long time. Nkaga is a very violent person. At the time Nkaga was arrested, the laws against poaching were not strong enough to encourage rehabilitation.
Boniface Matthew Mariango aka The Devil
Considered the most infamous poacher in East Africa, authorities suspect that Boniface Matthew Mariango and his gangs are responsible for thousands of elephant deaths across Africa. He was arrested on October 29th, 2015, in Tanzania, after escaping capture for over a year. The Devil, as he was nicknamed, managed approximately fifteen criminal poaching and ivory smuggling syndicates. Mariango’s capture came soon after a census report showed that the Tanzania elephant population dropped sixty percent between 2009 and 2014.