Fauna: a strong increase in elephant poaching in northern Congo (Republic of the Congo)


Agence d’Information d’Afrique Centrale/Brazzaville   

Date Published

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The anti-poaching patrol team of the Espace Tridom Interzone Congo (ETIC) project, on 23 August in Brazzaville, reported the arrest of two poachers, Félicien Logo Ebab and Pépin Blaise Momata on the river Dja (Congo-Cameroon border).

They are suspected of having participated in the killing of 4 elephants in the Nki National Park (Cameroon), but they confessed during their interrogations that they shot 10 elephants and sold the trophies.

In addition to the 8 ivory tusks, the two poachers were arrested in possession of a Kalashnikov-type weapon of war, as well as two empty clips and more than 30 munitions of war.

“This area of the river Dja separates the future protected area of Messok-Dja in the Congo and the national park of Nki in Cameroon. This is an ecological corridor for elephants between the two countries, and even a continuous habitat for many animal species,” said Corneille Moukson Kutia-kwa-Nzambi, legal assistant of the Tridom Interzone Congo (ETIC).

This arrest stems from increasing cross-border poaching. It is in this sense that the countries of the Trinational Dja-Odzala-Minkébé (Tridom), notably Gabon, Congo, and Cameroon, signed a “Protocol for the fight against poaching” in 2014 in order to be able to act during patrols on both sides of the border.

These joint patrols are still too occasional in view of the development of networks of ivory traffickers in these cross-border areas. Thus, a reflection is underway at the Tridom landscape to improve this type of monitoring. This initiative as well as the classification of the massive forest of Messok Dja (Congo) in the protected area will also offer emblematic species—like the elephant or the gorilla—a haven of peace in this exceptional landscape.

WWF’s inventories have shown the reduction to 80% of elephant populations in the last few years in the area of Nki and Boumba Bek. The recent arrest shows that poachers and their sponsors are able to exterminate elephants in this cross-border area. The Dja River, one of the tributaries of the Sangha, is called the Ngoko River on the Congo side.