Lubumbashi: ICCN still awaiting identification of seized ivory (DRC)


Media Congo

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.            

Last May, authorities seized more than 800 kilos of ivory. Three people had been arrested and detained at the Lubumbashi High Court Prosecutor’s Office. 

To date, the Congolese Institute for Nature Conservation (ICCN) in Lubumbashi is still awaiting the identification of the place of origin of the seized ivory. 

Indeed, this institution informs that shortly after this referral, an expert came from Kinshasa. His mission was to take DNA. “14 samples have been taken,” a source told ICCN. Thus, these samples will be examined to make it possible to know the origin of this ivory. Because to this day, it is difficult to locate its provenance. However, ICCN believes that it cannot be ivory from the DRC. 

It must be said that according to the minutes drawn up jointly by ICCN and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Lubumbashi, these are 141 ivory tusks. And whose weight is 817.85 Kg. According to the same source, these tusks could correspond to about 80 elephants. 

It should be noted that the price of ivory varies between 500 to 925 usd per kilo. And so, this seized lot is worth more than half a million US dollars. 

Trade beyond Africa 

It should also be noted that according to initial investigations, the ramifications of these ivory networks go beyond the DRC. Although at the same time other lots had been seized in Kinshasa, seized in Kisangani, the sponsors were located in Canada. Other sources talk about China. Because here, the market is still flourishing.

Elephant poaching is prohibited worldwide. But every year, it is between 20,000 and 30,000 elephants killed in Africa, or 3 elephants killed every hour. However, it should be noted that the seizure of these 817 kg of ivory is among the largest catches made in the DRC.

It should be noted that the city of Lubumbashi is considered the hub of the illicit ivory trade.