Bondoukou: A poacher, ivory trafficker arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison (Ivory Coast)



Date Published

Translated from the French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for the French original.

See link for photo.

Kambou Sansan Issouf, an animal trafficker specializing in elephant slaughter and ivory trade, was arrested on Monday, March 21, 2022 in Bondoukou, a town in eastern Côte d’Ivoire as he was about to sell his hunting booty in a restaurant. 

The latter was arrested with in his possession five ivory tusks and an elephant tail. This arrest was made possible thanks to the collaboration between the Unit for the Fight against Transnational Organized Crime (UCT), the Directorate of Forest Police and Water of the Ministry of Water and Forests (DPFE-MINEF), the Ivorian Office of Parks and Reserves (OIPR) and EAGLE-Côte d’Ivoire from which they received technical assistance.

The poacher, a trafficker caught in the act of detaining and attempting to market ivory tusks in Bondoukou, is a specialist in the field. He has been hunting elephants since 2013 in the Comoé National Park. The ivories and elephant tail seized are indeed the fruit of the poaching of elephants that he carries out within the Comoé National Park located a hundred kilometers from the city of Bondoukou.

5 Ivory Tusks and An Elephant Tail Seized

It was in the early afternoon of Monday, March 21, 2022 that the men of the UCT, the DPFE-MINEF and those of the OIPR with the technical support of EAGLE – Côte d’Ivoire, an NGO specialized in the fight against trafficking in protected wild animal species, arrived in a restaurant where the trafficker with ivories was entrenched. The assault was carried out just as Kambou Sansan Issouf was about to sell his hunting booty. A total of five ivory tusks and an elephant tail were seized.

Trafficker Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison

Once the operation was over, the trafficker was taken to the Bondoukou Police Prefecture to be held in custody and interviewed. He was subsequently brought before the Bondoukou Court Section on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, for slaughtering elephants in a national park and marketing ivory. 

On Thursday, March 24, 2022, Kambou Sansan Issouf was tried by the Court of First Instance of Bondoukou and found guilty of the charges against him.

Ivorian Wildlife Law Far from Being a Deterrent

As a reminder, the Ivorian wildlife law is far from being a deterrent while the situation of protected wild animal species is increasingly alarming, especially that of elephants, killed for their ivories. For the current case, it is at least three elephants that were killed for having 5 ivory tusks. The international ivory trade has been declared illegal since 1989, but African elephant populations continue to decline.

Every year 20,000 to 30,000 elephants are killed for their ivories, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF); equivalent to 50 to 80 individuals per day. The species has 415,000 pachyderms in Africa, compared to 3 to 5 million at the beginning of the last century. 

Factors  behind the Disappearance of Elephants

Two main factors are considered to be the cause of this drastic decline in the number of elephants: on the one hand, the increase in illegal animal trafficking linked to the strong international demand for ivory and on the other hand, the abusive exploitation of the natural resources necessary for elephants due to industrial agriculture and anarchic occupations of their habitat.

The illegal trade in elephant tusks is unfortunately constantly increasing and weighs three billion US dollars (nearly 2,000 billion CFA francs) per year with Southeast Asia as its main market, with China and Vietnam as the main buyers.