Police in Mchinji last week arrested 26-year-old Mandala Chirwa of Lubaini Village, Sub-Traditional Authority (ST/A) Pitala in the district for allegedly possessing and selling ivory.
Mchinji Police Station spokesperson Moses Nyirenda confirmed that police, working with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, arrested Chirwa and recovered the ivory after getting a tip-off from the public.
“We were informed that some people at Jobo Village, ST/A Pitala were selling ivory. On 10th August 2016, we launched a joint operation and arrested the suspect and recovered three pairs of ivory weighing 24.03kg,” he said.
Nyirenda said the suspect and his two accomplices, who are at large, contravened the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 2004 and, once investigations are completed and the other two are arrested, the three will answer charges of illegal possession of specimen of protected species contrary to Section 86 (1) of National Parks and Wildlife Act of 2004.
Nyirenda said the other charge is dealing in government trophies without permit contrary to Section 91 (1) of National Parks and Wildlife Act of 2004.
Nyirenda thanked the whistle-blowers and appealed to the public to report any suspicious activities to help contain crime in their locations.
Smuggling of ivory and other forest trophies has recently made headlines in the local media, raising fears that some wildlife species may be wiped out if nothing is done quickly to arrest the problem.