By Oscar Nkala
Twelve Chinese men were arrested for poaching in Gabon after being found to have a Winchester rifle, elephant meat, pangolin scales elephant meat and ivory jewellery. Gabon's Agence Nationale des Parcs Nationaux (ANPN), said it arrested the twelve, all thought to be Chinese nationals on suspicions of poaching. The 12 men were found in possession of large quantities of elephant meat and pangolin scales, as well as a Winchester hunting rifle and several pieces of ivory. Joseph Vivien Okouyi Okouyi, Senior Curator of parks of northeast of Gabon "Not only were these Chinese men consuming elephant meat, but they were also in possession of ivory jewellery. We have not yet discovered the tools or the ivory they used to create the jewellery." With 80% of its territory covered by forest at and with an 800 kilometre of coastline, Gabon is a paradise for a huge variety of species and wildlife, including forest elephants, giant pangolin, antelopes, gorillas and many birds. However, poaching continues at a disturbing level, fuelled by burgeoning demand from the Asian black market for ivory, which leads to the loss of many animals; more than 20,000 elephants have been slaughtered by poachers since 2004, according to a recent survey. "This organized crime must now be fought like the like drug trafficking, using similar methodologies and by deploying more resources" said Christian Long, technical director of the ANPN.