Three Ivory Dealers Arrested in Cameroon
A report has just come in from the frontline of the battle against the ivory trade. This is a message from Ofir Drori, Director of the Cameroon-based Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), an organisation specifically established to encourage greater government action in upholding wildlife laws and combatting the corruption that prevented arrests and prosecutions from being made in cases of wildlife crime:
Today we managed to get 3 ivory dealers arrested with 24 tusks, mostly of very young elephants.
One of the traffickers has been a target of our investigation for the last four months, and while they were all very aware of the enforcement efforts and pulled many tricks to avoid possible arrest – they were still outsmarted by our investigator.
Their interrogation sheds light on ivory trafficking from Congo Brazzaville, on bribing and transport modus operandi. We search for links to north Cameroon as well.
We really needed this good news, as I just came back from a long mission in Togo and Guinea Conakry with no energy and with a broken spirit. I had high expectations to arrest a big ape trafficker in Guinea and a major ivory dealer in Togo – both did not succeed to my frustration. ..
...Still, we move on and are looking ahead for more arrests in the six countries our network works in.
All the best
As Ofir mentions, the LAGA model of supporting intelligence gathering, operations, prosecution of illegal wildlife traffickers and improved awareness related to the illegal wildlife trade and corruption has now been replicated in other African countries with equally significant success. Today, LAGA is one of the most globally respected law enforcement non-governmental organisations due to its overwhelming successes and unwavering dedication to its mission.
In November 2012 Ofir travelled to Buckingham Palace in the UK, where Prince Philip presented him with the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal in recognition of his personal commitment to the conservation of wildlife. While in the UK, Ofir made another special visit to the Born Free Foundation offices to share some of his insights. Watch video