Major Gabriel Mayen Majok, wildlife inspector for Awerial County, Lakes State, in his office in Mingkaman town | Credit | Anyar Kuol/Mingkaman FM
At least two suspected poachers, including a wildlife officer, are expected to appear in court soon for killing an elephant in Lakes State recently.
A total of four men killed the elephant for its ivories in Awerial County last week. This led to the arrest of three prime suspects a few days later.
The three gentlemen were identified as Legun Bup, 55 – a wildlife officer, Machar Alier, 39, and Madeng Manyang, 22.
“I have finalized the investigations and one person was freed because he was caught in possession of ammunition and there were no evidence of involvement in the killing of the elephants,” said Maj. Gabriel Mayen Majok, inspector of wildlife in Awerial County.
However, the authorities dropped the charges against Madeng Manyang due to insufficient evidence. And the fourth suspect, whom the authorities are yet to name, escaped.
The Wildlife Conservation and Game Parks Act 2003 prohibits killing of protected animals such as elephants and giraffes.
It stipulates that anyone found guilty of killing a protected animal is liable to an imprisonment for a period not exceeding 14 years and a fine.
The Wildlife Conservation Society has said poaching is rampant in South Sudan.
Both local and international actors, especially the armed forces, are plundering South Sudan’s natural resources, WCS says.
These individuals and groups have become involved in ivory poaching and trafficking, commercial bushmeat poaching and trafficking, illegal logging, gold mining, and charcoal production, WCS .
Elephants – numbering some 80,000, 50 years ago – were wholesale massacred for ivory to fund the fighting. Their numbers are reduced to an estimated 2,000, as of June 2020.