The first of the Conservation Practioner finalists we’d like to introduce you to is a unit made up of 28 members who investigate environmental crimes in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa – The Green Scorpions.
Although their work includes other aspects of environmental crime, ‘Green’ environmental crime cases focus mainly on illegal hunting, whether by dogs or by organized crime syndicates, and on smuggling of plants, especially cycads and succulents.
Within this dynamite team, a Special Investigations Unit was developed, which focuses entirely on endangered species crimes. Many successful prosecutions, which include rhino poaching cases, can largely be attributed to their work. The Unit has had some of the most publicised environmental successes in the past decade. Their investigations led to the arrest of infamous rhino poaching gangs in the province, with successful direct imprisonments of up to 25 years. Cycad crimes have also reduced in the province. Their efforts saw the jailing of a main cycad syndicate leader in 2019 for 18 years and other cycad smugglers receiving prison sentences too.
These arrests have led to this environmental crime almost being completely stopped in the Province. While it is highly respected and regarded as one of the best environmental law enforcement units in the country, the Unit is humble about its achievements and always tries to improve itself for the conservation of the beautiful Eastern Cape.The Rhino Conservation Award winners will be announced on the 31st July 2020.
Rhinoconservationawards.orgDepartment of Environment, Forestry & FisheriesDepartment Of Environmental AffairsGame Rangers Association of AfricaLove Africa MarketingSouth African National ParksEastern Cape Touris