None are Spared!

Arrested ivory trafficker, April 2013 (c) LAGA

An ivory dealer has been arrested by wildlife law enforcement officials in Djoum, a border town close to the Gabonese frontier, in the South of Cameroon. A 29-year old man was trying to sell the ivory in this frontier town when he was arrested this week. He had in his possession 20 ivory tusks with the majority of them being very small indeed and weighing less than 5 kg – this means they came from young elephants, many probably less than 10 years old! The dealer was based just outside Djoum, from where he consolidated huge stocks of ivory while waiting for orders to come in.

The investigation, led by Born Free law enforcement partner LAGA (Last Great Ape Organization), confirmed previous gathered evidence of strong illegal ivory trade links with the neighbouring Republic of Congo. Early last month, 24 small ivory tusks made up of mostly tusks from young elephants were seized from three dealers in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. These dealers revealed that their connections ran deep into Congo; one dealer operated from Congo, through Cameroon and beyond, to other African countries as well as Europe. After this seizure, a spokesman for wildlife authorities in Cameroon said that “we should understand that we are in a global village, and Cameroon is like a crossroad in the (region). There are roads that link Cameroon with the other neighbouring countries, and with the opening of the road from Sangmelima (in the south of Cameroon) to Congo, poachers have also found an easy means to ferry ivory that they obtain from these countries.”

This mounting body of knowledge on cross border ivory trade in Central Africa and wider afield helps to connect the dots in the supply chain, and will enable the higher level traders involved in trafficking to be brought to justice, thus dealing significant blows to the global illegal ivory trade.

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