Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 2013. Emile N'bouke, who has been suspected of being a leading an ivory smuggling network for more than twenty years, has been arrested in Togo's capital, Lome. Some 700 kilos of ivory were confiscated from his premises during the arrest. There are thought to be less than 100 in Togo today, so the large quantity of ivory being channelled through Togo is coming from other countries. Togo is thought to have become a major export hub for illegal ivory from all over West and Central Africa, including Chad and Cameroon, both of which have had major problems with elephant slaughter recently. Many of the tusks found are small and appear to be from young animals, or Forest elephants which have smaller tusks than their savannah cousins. According to Togo's laws, the maximum length for trafficking in illegal wildlife products is just 1 year in prison, which is painfully lenient. The US State department said "We commend the Togolese authorities on their recent efforts to halt the illegal trade of ivory in West Africa by arresting a notorious wildlife trafficker on August 6. This arrest represents an important step in protecting valuable African wildlife and investigating criminal organizations. We urge Togolese authorities to conduct a full investigation and hold accountable to the fullest extent of the law those who engaged in the trafficking of ivory. As demonstrated by the Executive Order signed by President Obama on July 1 during his visit to Africa, combating wildlife trafficking is an important priority of the United States. We will continue to work with partner nations to support efforts to put an end to this illegal activity, which threatens security and the rule of law, undermines conservation efforts, robs local communities of their economic base, and contributes to the emergence and spread of disease. Source: Wildlife (UK)

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