March 30, 2018
Four individuals were deprived of their liberty in the first police station
of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM), after being caught selling ivory
tusks, and their derivatives in handicrafts, and other prohibited animal
products in the Central Market of Maputo, located in the downtown area of
the capital of the country.
This was only criminalized in 2017 after a gap in the Law on Protection,
Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity (Law 16/2014 of 16
June) was remedied.
In possession of the defendants, who claimed to be innocent, the
corporation confiscated different species of birds whose possession and
sale is prohibited, quail eggs, shark fins and teeth, claws and teeth of
leopards, lions and other felines and even money believed to be from the
sale of such products.
The discovery of such pieces in that bazaar was made by an undercover
police officer who approached one of the stalls and posed as a customer.
The seller of birds, he pointed out, long ago claimed that he did not know
that the animals found in his possession were protected by law, while the
ivory merchant justified his arrest by saying that it occurred when he was
overseeing the booth of another who had momentarily stepped away.
N. Salomeo, for example, said that the ivory tusks found in his possession
were handed to him — by an acquaintance on June 25th — in the square in
downtown Maputo, which on Saturdays is occupied by dozens of Mozambican
artists promoting a handicraft fair.
Apparently this person told him that the product was to be sold to
foreigners, thus did one of the pieces have a stamped price of 300 dollars
on it. The PRM said, as always, that it is investigating the provenance of
This is not the first time. A similar situation has happened in the capital
of the country and in the same market.
In March 2017, two Mozambican citizens, an uncle and nephew, were sent to
jail, indicted with the illegal possession and sale of 22.5 kilograms of
elephant ivory, 100 grams of shark’s teeth and a leopard’s skin which had
been displayed on a bench in the Central Market.
Some products had already been transformed into pieces of ornament and
already had the selling prices on them in dollars.
At the time, the two citizens claimed that the goods belonged to a deceased
With the amendment approved in 2016 by Parliament in the Law on the
Protection, Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity (Law
No. 16/2014 of 16 June), it was determined that, without a license, or to
sponsor, promote, instigate, support, collaborate, join a group or
organization or association of two or more persons who, acting in concert,
jointly or separately practicing the killing or destruction of protected or
forbidden species of fauna and flora, ranging from 12 to 16 years.
And anyone who illegally extracts forest and wildlife resources, sells,
distributes, purchases, descends, receives, provides to another person,
transports, imports, transports or illegally possesses animals, fauna
products or preparations of protected or prohibited species, also applies
to the above mentioned penalties.
This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.