An early morning raid in the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique has resulted in the capture of a poaching syndicate and the confiscation of ivory and guns.
The arrests resulted after a 10-month investigation informed by vital on-the-ground intelligence.
During the early morning raid, 12 tusks and two rifles were confiscated.
Two of the tusks, which weighed 23 kilograms each, were from an elephant about 40 years old. The worth of the tusks was estimated at well over U.S. $150,000.
Officials estimated that this particular group of poachers has killed 39 elephants this year alone based on interviews with the suspects.
In addition, this arrest is a major crack down on one of five well-organized groups suspected of poaching elephants in Niassa.
World Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper, who is currently in Niassa, said: “With this arrest we have charged a shooter, porters and poacher informers who are driving the elephant crisis in Niassa Reserve.
It is estimated there are 13,000 elephants remaining in Niassa National Reserve which is located in northern Mozambique. The reserve holds Mozambique’s largest remaining population of elephants.