Elephant ivory trafficking: Three suspected traffickers in custody in Libreville (Gabon)


Vignon Folake, Gabon Review

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. 

A joint operation to combat trafficking in protected animal species in Gabon, led by the units of the judicial police and the Directorate for the Fight against Poaching with the support of the NGO Conservation Justice, made it possible on 26 March to arrest three alleged ivory traffickers in Libreville.

They are DM and NMM both of Gabonese nationality established in the commune of Ntoum and MTE, a Cameroonian domiciled in Libreville in the Beau séjour district. 

According to initial information, they decided to conclude the sale of two ivory tusks buried in a bag in a hotel in the square. But the units of the judicial police and the directorate of the fight against poaching, determined to fulfill their missions, were informed and carried out their intervention meticulously.

Fortunately, the transaction has no longer taken place since the defendants have been arrested and taken to the police station where they are being held pending hearing by the Special Prosecutor’s Office. 

According to the NGO Conservation Justice, this umpteenth interpellation demonstrates the existence of ivory trafficking and the need to act to reduce the effects of the ecological damage behind the poaching of protected animal species in Gabon such as elephants. Unscrupulous persons face up to ten years in prison, in accordance with the provisions of article 338 of the Penal Code in the Gabonese Republic.

Forest elephants play an important role in balancing ecosystems and mitigating the effects of climate change. They are indeed forest managers and thus participate in the regeneration of the forest by promoting large diameter species and thus carbon capture. During the dry seasons, elephant tusks allow them to dig and fetch water. In this way, they also create openings for new plants to grow and create a pathway to water for other smaller animals.