Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Throughout the first quarter of this year, thirty wildlife traffickers were apprehended in four African nations. During crackdown operations orchestrated by the government in conjunction with the EAGLE network, which supports wildlife officers in various nations in enforcing the wildlife law, the traffickers were apprehended in Ivory Coast, Congo, Gabon, and Togo.

They were detained for trafficking in live monkeys and chimpanzees, among other protected wildlife species. During operations carried out in the four countries, both leopard skins and elephant tusks were apprehended. With almost 165kg of elephant tusks, including 33kg of ivory pieces and roughly 132kg of tusks, with 30kg coming from Cameroon and captured in Togo, 17 ivory traffickers were apprehended.

Six individuals involved in the trafficking of leopard skins and chimpanzees were apprehended, and four leopard skins and a chimp confiscated from the Ivory Coast and Congo were also found. In Togo, five more smugglers who had seventeen live monkeys were apprehended.

Five traffickers from Togo are among those detained; among them is a highly suspected hardened criminal with numerous nationalities, including Israeli, Belarusian, Russian, and Kazakh, who was discovered to have switched names and other details on identification documents he took with him. The Togolese Gendarmerie stopped the traffickers cruising in a boat with a shipment of 17 protected Brazilian monkeys.

The Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement, EAGLE-Togo, provided support to the operation to prove that the cargo was unlawful. Afterward, the multi-national trafficker managed to escape his jail and depart from Togo. According to those with knowledge of the case, corruption might have contributed to the trafficker’s escape.

Among those detained is a Congolese ivory trafficker on the run who was sought after in an earlier investigation that took place in 2023. During the operation, a trafficker was apprehended with two elephant tusks and given a four-year prison sentence; however, the fugitive managed to flee. In February, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to apprehend the fugitive, who had magically vanished each time, he was apprehended.

Some countries and wildlife law enforcement agencies are stepping up efforts to stop the illegal trade of wildlife-protected species in Africa. One important reason driving the industry’s growth is the enormous consumer demand for a wide range of illegal wildlife items coming from Asia.

“From fighting the trafficking networks on the ground, I can say we see no signs of decline whatsoever and rather a continued increase in levels of trafficking,” states Ofir Drori, the founder of Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement (EAGLE).
The EAGLE network, which is composed of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as LAGA, collaborates with certain African governments to enhance the implementation of national environmental laws.

To stop the illegal wildlife trade, the EAGLE network is active in Cameroon (LAGA) and seven other African nations: Congo, Gabon, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda. These nations collaborate closely with their respective governments. Ninety traffickers were apprehended with the help of the network last year.

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