Traffickers of Wildlife on Bail (Benin)



Date Published
Translated from French by an automated online translation service, so please excuse the roughness. See link for original. Thank you to Anne Dillon for finding the article and doing the online translating.

The suspected traffickers of wildlife arrested by police in Porto Novo are being provisionally released this Monday, July 27, 2015, by the Public Prosecutor at the Court of Porto-Novo. They are summoned to a hearing on 12 August 2015 to answer for their actions.

There are some days that individuals suspected of trafficking in wildlife species have been caught red-handed selling protected animal species, which is a crime. Species include: the skins of elephants, leopards, genets, crocodile, pangolin spoils, fifty chameleons and also partially protected species of four heads of baboons, a dozen harnessed bushbuck skins, a dozen pythons Sebae skins.
These products are often destined for Europe or the United States of America to serve as fashion accessories. All species are protected by CITES and Law No. 2002-16 of 18 October 2004 on the regime of wildlife in Benin Republic and its by-law which states that “. . . the hunting, capture, detention, transportation and marketing of fully protected species is prohibited and vis-à-vis violations of these species are punishable by six months to five years in prison with fines of 300,000 CFA francs to 800,000 CFA francs.”
Wrath of Wildlife Protection Structures
Dissatisfied with this decision, the structures working for the protection of wildlife and the fight against transnational trafficking of all kinds, see it as a denial of justice, considering the magnitude of the scourge. This is a scourge that is called “wildlife crime” given that the country is still hit by traffic and poaching. And the National Parks of W and Pendjari see their wild herds diminish day by day. Given the extensive nature of poaching of wild animal species and ivory trafficking and wildlife pelts partially or fully protected, Benin following the example of other African nations enrolled in the fight against wildlife crime, with strict application of the regulations.
With the Support program to the Application of the Law on Fauna and Flora, AALF-B, wildlife criminals are increasingly flushed out and arrested by police, gendarmes, and forestry. This was welcomed by operations around the world that place our country among the leading nations in the fight against wildlife crime. But alas, justice is not accompanied at all with this government commitment. The decisions for most cases saddle the operation and hardly encourage the crusade against this new scourge that fuels terrorist networks, according to a UN report. It is urgent and important that Beninese justice is done […] to effectively contribute to the fight against the phenomenon and conservation of wildlife.
Already two poachers were arrested by the surveillance team in the act of killing two elephants. It was on July 25. They had time to snatch two ivories of an elephant they killed, who was accompanied by her young. The elephant has suffered the same fate: it was shot; not wearing even defense.
Both poachers come from Toukountouna, a town 25 kilometers Tanguiéta, the town housing the Pendjari Park. They used a weapon more sophisticated than that found last year at the same period in the gatekeeper, great massacres still currently serving his sentence accomplice. The consequences of poaching and illegal wildlife trade not only affect biodiversity, but also the peace, security, and integrity of states and the living conditions of populations.