Wildlife crime in Senegal: Three ivory traffickers arrested in Keur Massar (Senegal)



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 both volunteering her time to find these French articles and doing the online translating.

Despite efforts to protect fully protected animal species, Senegal remains a hub for illegal ivory trade. The agents of Water and Forests, strongly supported by Commissioner DRAMA elements of urban security and assisted by the project Senegal Application Act wildlife (SALF), the NGO WARA has arrested three traffickers of trophies in fully protected animal species.

Malick Ba, Momar Diop, and Mamadou Gaye were taken to Keur Massar in the act of ivory marketing offense. They are accused of the possession offense, circulation, and sale of elephant ivory trophy repressed by the code of hunting and wildlife protection. Referred on July 27 and placed in custody on the same day, they should be tried in coming days. According to a lawyer of wildlife crime “code hunting and wildlife protection forbids seizing ivory elephant found dead, the spoils and trophies of dead animals. Unfortunately ivory elephant tusks circulate in Senegal and are quickly transformed into jewelry to please women and be exported quickly and in large quantities to Asia. Will we let the traffickers kill elephants until they are completely extinct, to make jewelry and continue ivory smuggling with impunity, despite the existing laws? If the law is applied in all of its rigor, they risk a firm prison sentence and a fine of 1,200,000 CFA francs.”

Between 2015 and 2016, twelve wildlife criminals were arrested in Senegal, but never was an exemplary sanction imposed. If this doesn’t happen, traffickers are released with suspended sentences. The three who were sentenced to six months served only a month before being pardoned.

Have we understood the seriousness of the illegal wildlife trade? The wildlife crime is a transnational organized crime and is fourth in illicit trade in the world after drugs, weapons, and human beings. It amasses illegal profits of about $19 billion each year. This poaching is not simply localized poaching.

The illegal trade in wild species threatens the survival of many species in the wild. Over the past three years, about one-fifth of the total population of African elephants—100,000 elephants—were killed for ivory.

The escalation of wildlife trafficking in recent years threatens conservation and security in the world. The wildlife trafficking generates huge illegal profits for complex criminal organizations, which are often responsible for the slaughter, transport, and marketing of illegal products from wild species. The wildlife trafficking corrupts governments, undermines the rule of law, and contributes to the funding of organized crime and insurgent groups.

In some African countries, this trade creates instability and finances terrorism. The LRA’s Joseph Kony is financed with elephant ivory smuggling to destabilize Africa. Every 15 minutes, an elephant is killed for its ivory, or about 100 per day. What do we want? Let our children see the elephant only in the movies?

Hopefully the Senegalese Justice system will hear the cry of Ban Ki Moon. It “is an environmental crisis, economic and security . . . the illegal trade is a serious security threat, to the stability, economy, natural resources and cultural heritage of many African countries.”