Target: Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha
Goal: Praise large prison sentence and fines for members of ivory poaching ring.
Two ivory poachers were recently sentenced to 30 years imprisonment or a massive fine in one of the biggest judgements against poachers in Tanzanian history. The men were caught with over 700 elephant tusks and charged with the killings of 228 elephants. The poachers will be required to pay the full fine of over 1 billion Tanzanian Shillings or face the lengthy prison sentence. They will also each spend five years in prison for their attempts to bribe conservation officials.
While an elephant population over 100,000 strong previously inhabited Tanzania, this number has declined by more than 50 percent in only five years. Poachers have turned to increasingly cruel and effective measures to catch and slaughter the animals, including poisoning entire watering holes and using high-powered automatic weapons mounted on vehicles to gun down entire herds.
Once the elephants are slaughtered, their tusks are sold on the black market. The ivory is generally bought by the rich as a status symbol, and is also used in traditional Asian medicine. The ivory market, though outlawed in much of the world, is stronger than ever and brings in billions of dollars worth of funds each year to organized crime syndicates.
This harsh sentence will not only deliver a massive blow to an ivory poaching ring, but will deter other poachers from committing similar crimes in the future. Sign the petition below to praise one of Tanzania’s biggest ivory trade convictions.
Dear Magistrate Cyprian Mkeha,
Two Chinese nationals were recently found guilty of poaching and attempting to bribe conservation officials. The men, who were part of a massive poaching ring, were caught with over 700 elephant tusks and were accused of killing 228 elephants. For their crimes, they will be required to pay a fine of 108.7 billion Tanzanian Shillings, or nearly $25 million USD. If they do not pay, they will each spend 30 years in prison on top of the 5 that they will serve for attempting to bribe an official.
Poaching is a serious issue in Tanzania, and has resulted in an elephant population decline of over 50 percent in only five years. If left unchecked, poaching could result in the extinction of elephants not only in Tanzania, but across the world. This harsh judgement will not only land a serious blow against a major poaching ring, but will serve to deter future offenders. We, the undersigned, applaud your judgement.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jastrow