Serial Elephant Poachers Kill Over 100 Elephants — Face Only Three Years In Prison

180px-African_Bush_Elephant_MikumiThe reason why elephants are going extinct may have something to do with a trial in Cameroon against twin brothers accused of killing more than 100 elephants in Central Africa. What is most striking about this story is that these brothers — Symphorien Sangha and Rene Sangha — have been arrested before and never served a day in jail. Now, with over 100 dead elephants to their credit, they are only looking at a maximum of three years in jail. Indeed, Symphorien Sangha was found guilty of killing elephants and wounding a forest ranger. He will receive 10 years for wounding the ranger but no more than three years for killing a huge number of elephants and a long record of poaching. With a deterrent level of that kind, it is astonishing that any elephants remain alive.

To make matters worse, Rene Sangha worked as a forest ranger and is believed to have provided information that helped his brother kill elephants while evading the police. The prosecutor is quoted as saying that “Poachers will be deterred, and this is going to reduce the threat and the pressure on wildlife species, especially elephants.” While I celebrate the arrest of these two brothers, I cannot share the same confidence. Poachers make considerable amounts of money in poor countries from poaching. The threat of serving less than three years (even if you are a serial poacher) is hardly a deterrent.

A common theory of deterrence holds that it is established in the relationship between detection rates and the level of punishment. If detection rates are low, deterrence can be established through high levels of punishment since the rational actor considers both factors in considering unlawful conduct. That is obviously not applicable to crimes of passion or individuals who act impulsively. However, it is a useful measure in circumstances like these were detection rates are extremely low. Yet, so is the level of punishment. The result is unlikely to be the deterrence level predicted by the prosecutor in my view.

What do you think?

Source: VOA

13 thoughts on “Serial Elephant Poachers Kill Over 100 Elephants — Face Only Three Years In Prison

  1. Personally…. I think there should be a Bounty put on Poachers heads…. if they make $1,000 for killing an elephant….. then we should pay somebody $2,000 to kill the poacher…..

    I would donate to that cause….

    3 years is insane….. It should be LIFE in prison…. or the death penalty….

  2. Let’s send in a Sniper… like Leroy Jethro Gibbs to eliminate these two and not leave a trace. That’s what they deserve………….. As you pointed out Professor… Crimminals who go unpunished will only do it again….

  3. Elephants, like dophins, some cephalopods (octopi, cuttlefish), and some great apes (mountain gorillas, orangutans), appear to have complex interior – in some cases like elephants, even emotional – lives according to the latest research and are self-aware albeit in ways we don’t completely understand. If we don’t understand that, respect it and find a way to cross the species barrier into communication and/or understanding, what chance do we have of ever effectively communicating with a truly alien intelligence? None. The posit is simply this: if we cannot recognize and learn to communicate with other non-human Earth-bound intelligences, we are not only bad stewards of the environment, but terminally limited as a species.

    Death is an extreme penality, but life in prison?

    I’d sign off on that punishment.

  4. Wait a minute. You can’t take their ill gotten gains away until after they have had a fair trial and used it all up to pay their Criminal Lawyers…..

  5. Wondering how many US Corporations and/or our government have benefit from killing elephants or have paid the poachers’ wages?

    Can someone go into detail as to why the elephants are being killed? Chinese medicine? Who has placed value in elephant body parts?

    There has to be more to the story…………….

  6. Some few months ago I was looking up poached ivory and came across expected results, China and the Far East are the primary destinations. I also came across several articles which I can’t find now that said that a large segment of poached ivory goes to Thailand and, as I recall, India for carving and then the finished products are sent to the Arabian peninsula.

    I’m with JAG, a bounty on the poachers might be helpful.

    “Since the beginning of 2012, conservationists say, more than 32,000 elephants have been killed by poachers. Although some of the ivory ends up in Thailand, much of it is smuggled to China, where it is carved into the figurines, chopsticks and other trinkets coveted by that country’s newly affluent consumers. ….”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/world/asia/prime-minister-of-thailand-promises-to-end-nations-ivory-trade.html?_r=0

  7. A fund should be set up to pay those who protect wildlife in Africa many times over what the average African can ever hope to earn. provided they do their jobs with diligence.

    as for these guys, I think Dr. Leakey had the right idea when he was commissioner – put ’em to death. Then hang them out to dry.

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