Demand Tougher Penalties for Ivory Smuggling

Two men were caught smuggling over two and a half tons of dead elephant tusks. They were tried and sentenced in the High Court of Malawi. But why did they pay only about $5,500 in fines?

One of the many problems that elephants face is that the fines for smuggling ivory are not really high enough to discourage further trafficking. Several Malawi leaders have said that Malawi's maximum fines for wildlife crimes are simply not high enough. Malawi Member of Parliament Werani Chilenga expressed severe disappointment in the outcome of the recent smuggling trial. Chilenga says that Malawi needs to bring its sentences for wildlife crimes into line with those of other African countries. Please join with me in asking Malawi's Parliament to do just that.

To the Parliament of Malawi:

We the undersigned are saddened to learn that such a small fine was levied against two men recently caught smuggling elephant tusks. We are particularly concerned that a fine of only approximately US $5,500 does not constitute a sufficient deterrent. The amount of ivory being smuggled was a whopping two and a half tons. The black market value of that is a fortune. The men so prosecuted may well feel that it is worth it to keep up this illegal trafficking--if the penalties are so low in proportion to the projected pay out. Your own leaders, especially Werani Chilenga, believe your penalties for wildlife crimes are not even in line with what is practiced in your fellow African nations. Please enact stricter penalties for wildlife crimes!

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