two poachers arrested for lemur trafficking

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Two poachers were arrested Thursday morning in a protected natural area in the northeast of the island by the national police. They had in their possession 46 crowned lemurs, an endemic and protected species on the big island, of which only one survived. According to their statements, the individuals intended to resell the animals to hoteliers in a neighboring town, for consumption.

Nicolas Salo, regional director of the NGO Fanamby, which launched the alert, explains that the poachers suspected the alpha male of the group and imprisoned him. The latter then called his congeners for help.

Gradually, the poachers chose the lemurs and poisoned them to transport them more easily to the town of Sambava, where hoteliers buy back the remains for 5 euros for consumption.

The individuals indicated that they were not from the region, a not so insignificant detail because for the communities living around the area, eating lemurs is a fady, a taboo, notes the director again.

Nicolas Salo believes that the modus operandi is particularly odious. “ Previously poachers “contented” with poisoning the lemurs with poisoned fruits. » « It is poverty that drives people to environmental crimes, be it poaching or logging. »

The 45 animals had to be burned and buried immediately, without autopsies, to prevent the spread of disease. The caged lemur is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

According to the first elements of the investigation, it could be a network. The last seizure of this type dates back to 2017, according to the public prosecutor of Antananarivo.

Poachers foresee 2 to 5 years of imprisonment, according to the code of protected areas. They are placed under a warrant of committal pending their trial on June 16. The charges are possession and transport of protected animals.

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