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The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCO) said 87 foreigners and five Ethiopians were caught poaching ivory, tiger skin and other game animals between January and November of this year. More than 90 percent of those arrested were from China, followed by people from Europe and Africa.
They were caught in Bole Airport and the Metemma Border by customs workers as they headed to Asian countries holding ivory and animal skin which are used for pharmaceuticals, food, pets, and ornamental or traditional medicinal purposes
The skin and ivory came from illegal poaching of animals from different African countries, mostly from Nigeria and Angola.
Daniel Paulos, EWCO Wildlife Trafficking Control senior expert told Capital that Ethiopia has an international responsibility to control illegal wildlife trade.
“Ethiopia has signed the Cities Convention which prohibits illegal wildlife trade, when we catch anyone who has wildlife parts we will bring them to court,” Daniel said.
According to the Ethiopian wildlife protection proclamation getting involved in illegal wildlife poaching and trading could result in one year prison sentence and a fine between 5,000 and 30,000 birr.
‘’We are also seeing a situation where foreigners come to Ethiopia and give people 300 to 400 birr to kill a Cheetah. Their skins are then used for carpets. He added that the Ethiopian government plans to increase the penalties for illegal wildlife poaching, to better control the situation.
In related news, to prevent wildlife trading in East Africa a five day workshop was held in Addis Ababa, starting on November 17.
Some of the major destinations for illegally traded wildlife include: Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Oman.
Amin Abdulkadir, Minister of Culture and Tourism said during his opening speech that now was the time to tackle wildlife crime with a global response.
Kelvin Alle, Director of Wildlife Trade at the International Fund for Animal Welfare said we must unite to save our natural treasures from greedy traders.
According to criminal justice programs and wildlife charities, a kilogram of ivory poached from elephants can be sold in Asia for around USD 850 (€650). In 2011, over USD 31 million worth of ivory tusks were smuggled from Eastern Africa to Asia.