Chinese trafficker arrested in Ndjamena with two polished ivory tusks (Chad)


by Khephren Fanga, Gabonews

Date Published
A Chinese ivory trafficker has been arrested in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, with two polished ivory tusks. China is widely believed to be the world’s largest consumer of ivory. As the price of ivory rose, Chad lost the vast majority of its elephants to poachers. Half a century ago, Chad is thought to have had 50,000 elephants, whereas today only around 1500 remain in the country. The smuggler is currently in custody.
While pressure from poachers from Sudan and the Central African Republic has been well documented, the pressure from the demand end within Africa itself is less well known.
“Similar cases have been documented across the continent,” says Naftali Honig of the EAGLE Network. “But it encouraging to see Chadian authorities making this arrest. A strong prosecution will mark a new chapter in the strict application of wildlife law in Chad.”
Indeed, prosecution will be the next step forward in the protection of Chad’s elephants, as in 2011, Journal du Tchad reported a similar case of 2 Chinese ivory smugglers arrested in Ndjamena. These smugglers were mysteriously released  by the Police according to reports at the time.
Chad has recently undertaken a number of strong initiatives, such as the protection of Zakouma National Park in collaboration with African Parks Network, leading to a drastic reduction in poaching in the park; as well as the burning of its national ivory stock pile in February 2014. Over 1.1 tons were burned in a demonstration, by President Idriss Deby Itno, of support for the conservation of elephants.