Sting of the Green Scorpions
THIRTEEN tons of crocodile meat valued at R5 million exported from South Africa to Hong Kong without permits, bakkie and trailers “laden full” of rare cycads and the interception of storage units containing boxes of cut up ivory .
These were some of the significant cases highlighted in the Department of Environmental Affairs’ 2016/17 National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report (NECER).
The report reveals a “significant” increase in reports of the export and import of species – surging from 17 in 2015 to 208 in 2016/2017. “The next couple of years are going to be a busy time for biodiversity compliance and enforcement officials in South Africa,” says the report.
“We’re moving into a new and exciting direction to collectively combat wildlife trafficking, not only as a threat to conservation but also a national security threat.
“We will continue to focus on rhino and wildlife crime as priority crimes but will also maintain our project focus on traditional healers’ markets, lion breeding facilities, nurseries, in relation to alien and invasive species, cycads and rhino horn stockpiles.”
Its inspectors will focus on coastal discharges, specifically from wastewater treatment facilities.