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Judiciary must prosecute persons caught with protected species - environment

by Rodney Pienaar

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has called on the judiciary to swiftly prosecute persons who are caught with protected species, after the arrested of six suspects found in possession of controlled wildlife products at Grootfontein last week.

It has also condemned the killing of protected species especially Pangolins which are on the verge of extinction, spokesperson of the environment ministry, Romeo Muyunda told The Villager.

“This is totally unacceptable and we would like the law to make an example out of these culprits.  These kinds of incidents have a very negative effect on the tourism sector of the country. Most tourists visit our country because of the rare species we have here. We need to speed up the process of investigations by the police so we can have these persons trialed and sentenced for possession of protected species,” he said.

He added that the tourism industry contributes 20% to the GDP while killing and selling of protected species will only result in less tourists visiting the country which will affect economic growth.

Muyunda also said that in future the ministry will look into negotiating with the judiciary to stiffen the sentences for possession of protect species.

“People will only understand once they see that culprits are sentenced. We need to make an example of them to set the record straight,” he said.