Twilight for Elephants?

Award-winning Mozambican journalist Estacio Valoi conducted a three-month investigation, unpacking the systemic ties between Chinese and Mozambican poaching outfits. The following images were part of an exhibit that took place in Johannesburg, during October 2013.

by Estacio Valoi

During the past three years, 2500 elephants in the Niassa Reserve alone have allegedly been killed for ivory. The average black market value for ivory is $300 per kg, in Mozambique, according to sources.

When Valoi visited the Reserve, though poaching rates were said to be on the decline, over 70 elephants were slaughtered in just one week, using weapons and poison. Intertwined is also a local industry providing a viable source of income for neighbouring citizens including Tanzanians.

The system is comprised of opaque financiers, mercenaries, poachers, as well as logistical support, vets; local and foreign companies operating via shell entities.

The ivory is routed via helicopters, ships, small planes and land routes, often via smuggling.


The investigation formed part of FAIR’s China-in Africa Transnational Investigation, conducted with support from the Wits China-Africa Reporting Project.