Scaled-up enforcement actions against elephant poachers and illegal ivory traders in Republic of Congo have led to a wave of arrests in the country over the past two months.
Anti-poaching initiatives resulting in the arrests of three people were conducted by African Parks’ Anti-Poaching Unit at Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
African Parks is a nonprofit organization that “takes total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities.”
At 13,500 square kilometers, Odzala-Kokoua is the Congo’s largest national park and is located in the second largest rainforest region in the world.
In addition, the arrests of eight people were initiated by the nonprofit Project for the Application of Law for Fauna, PALF, working with the national police, the Gendarmerie Nationale.
African Parks congratulates the Congolese Ministry of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development, which is responsible for the country’s elephant protection efforts; the Gendarmerie Nationale; PALF and Odzala-Kokoua’s Anti-Poaching Unit on these recent breakthroughs.
“The growing list of arrests is a testimony to the fact that our combined tactics are delivering results in the fight against elephant poaching in the region,” said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead.
In October, two poachers were arrested on the eastern boundary of the park by Odzala’s Anti-Poaching Unit. They admitted selling ivory to a Chinese national, an employee of the China Road and Bridge Corporation, CRBC. His driver also was arrested.
The men were found in possession of pieces from three tusks which had been stashed at the CRBC camp at Moyoye. On inspecting the camp, Odzala’s Anti-Poaching Unit found evidence that the site had been used to cut and shape ivory into artifacts. The two men were charged but released on bail and the case is currently before the national prosecutor.
In November at Yengo control post, southeast of Odzala, a Chinese national was arrested by Odzala’s eco-guards after a piece of ivory was found in his laptop bag. Traces of ivory were discovered again at the CRBC camp at Moyoye where the Chinese national was based. He was arrested but released by the prosecutor based in Ouesso.
In late November, anti-poaching operations supported by PALF resulted in the arrests of eight people, with more arrests set to follow. More....