Conservation: A Major Ivory Trafficking Network Dismantled in DRC 


Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale/Brazzaville    

Date Published

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) welcomed the DRC government for the success of this endeavor, which helped seize 30 kg of ivory tusks and ornaments, and the arrest of three traffickers. Police launched on February 4, an operation that resulted in the seizure of 30 kg of tusks and ornaments, and the arrest of three traffickers who are in custody. For WWF, which welcomed this action by an application program of the law supported by the international NGOs active in the field of environment and nature conservation, WWF and its partners premises, the DRC authorities, inflicted a blow on the illegal ivory trade by dismantling this important ivory trafficking network. “This action shows that the ivory traffickers can no longer rely on impunity for their crimes in the country and demonstrates that with determination we can have success in our fight against crime on the wildlife in the DRC,” said Director of conservation WWF-DRC Bruno Perodeau.

The dense forest of the Congo, home to the African forest elephant with two thirds of this species in the DRC, WWF said in a statement published on 12 February, is the second largest rainforest in the world. Moreover, stressed the international NGO, elephant poaching continues at scale. For this association, if maligned poaching is not stopped, the species could almost disappear from the DRC in the near future, as was the case with several other iconic species such as the northern white rhino. “When the DRC authorities and civil society organizations work together to fight against the illegal wildlife trade, everyone wins, and criminals lose. If such efforts are maintained and amplified, this ongoing struggle will generate a new source of hope to preserve the country’s rapidly diminishing elephant,” warned Jordan Kimball, the man in charge of the project for the conservation of forest ecosystems Central Africa (CAFEC) WWF / DRC.

A National Action Plan on Ivory

DRC, does one note, as a priority country in the fight against illegal trafficking of ivory, was requested by the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in flora and fauna species (Cites) Wild endangered, providing, in July 2014, a National Action Plan on ivory. As the DRC had not finalized its plan within the agreed time, the CITES Secretariat recommended in March that member countries suspend trade in specimens of species on the CITES list with Congo. Faced with the threat of sanctions, says WWF, the DRC began to act by making the implementation of his plan, and is now trying to help quell ivory trafficking networks. “This shows that a strong and decisive action by CITES can lead to real impacts for conservation results on the ground,” welcomed WWF.

For the Policy Officer for WWF initiative against wildlife crime in Central Africa, Alain Ononino indeed, this action is an important step, however, the DRC must put more effort into it, including the closure of its local markets in illegal ivory and increase its anti-poaching operations. WWF noted that international traffic involving fully protected species, such as illegal trafficking of ivory, is more severely punished by five to ten years in prison and / or a fine of 25 to 100 million Congolese francs (27,000 to 110,000 US dollars). While in accordance with Congolese law 2014 on wildlife in the DRC, anyone convicted of having killed, wounded, captured, or in possession of a fully protected species, including elephant, is liable to a prison sentence from one to ten years and/or a fine of 5 to 10 million Congolese francs (US $ 5500-11000).