Maputo — The Cabo Delgado provincial court in northern Mozambique has sentenced two poachers to six years imprisonment for hunting in the Quirimbas National Park, according to a Thursday report by the independent television station, STV.
The two men are peasants living inside this conservation area. In May 2019, they were detained in possession of 60 kilos of elephant meat, valued at about 120,000 meticais (1,740 US dollars, at current exchange rates). The tusks of the dead elephant, however, were not located.
In delivering his sentence, the judge, Geraldo Patricio, sad that, under Mozambican legislation on wild life crime, "the court ought to sentence you to between 12 and 16 years, but since it has not been proved that it was you who killed the elephant, and since it seems that you do not know the law and the procedures about conservation areas, which we regard as mitigating factors, you are hereby sentenced to six years imprisonment".
The authorities of the Quirimbas National Park regarded the sentence as lenient, but they accepted it, in the hope that it would act as a deterrent, and dissuade others, particularly those living in conservation areas, from embarking on a career as poachers.
"We think that six years away their families is enough to discipline the poachers who are still invading conservation areas, and slaughtering protected and endangered species", said Assane Mussa, the chief warden in the Quirimbas park, after witnessing the sentence.
"Poachers are also damaging tourism", he added, "since the park is losing its attractions".