Ivory traffickers arrested
A wildlife crime charity recovered almost £100,000 of ivory from being trafficked between Gabon and Cameroon last week. The shipment was quashed during a six-day operation by Conservation Justice – part of the EAGLE (Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement) Network – and local agency partners.
Operatives discovered a total of 120kg of ivory hidden in compartments in a truck. The tusks are believed to have come from forest elephants and represent at least nine animals, killed illegally. In total, 19 tusks and four pieces of ivory were recovered, valued at $120,000 (£95,000). The shipment also contained 18 rounds of .458 calibre ammunition and more than £1,000 in cash.
A spokesperson for Conservation Justice said the find was “a significant turning point in the fight against the illegal ivory trade” and that several “key players” have been arrested.
Gabon is among the last major refuges for elephants, with an estimated population of 95,000, but “organised mafia-type networks” continue to threaten, in part due to insufficient deterrents. ST contributor Diggory Hadoke explained, “Often the right hand is fighting the left, with captured poachers released six months after getting six years. The ‘big men’ at the top are out of the reach of the law.
“Few governments want to divert funds into anti-poaching measures,” added Hadoke, “which is when the hunting concession model works so well, with concession holders paying for the anti-poaching units that are actually effective.”
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