Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

The talons of Africa

23 August 2013

Categories: Homepage News, Elephants Campaign News, Primates Campaign News, EAGLE News

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We would like to share some significant updates with you from long-standing Born Free partner the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) related to their work and that of their sister projects in Africa. The following account was sent to us by LAGA:

 

Dear supporters, 

LAGA was recently featured on ABC’s Nightline TV programme

You can watch it here - http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/chasing-ivory-poachers-smugglers-west-africa-19878273

Nightline filmed my mission in Togo, I came back from this Guinea-Togo mission broken as the big ivory dealer (Emile N’bouke, aka ‘The Boss’) we were targeting slipped through our hands. From that time we continued trying to get him lured and arrested. Given the high profile of the broadcast the chances of arresting the ivory dealer were drastically reduced. It was a race against the clock…

And then we got him! He is now behind bars arrested by Togo’s special unit originally established to fight drug trafficking. They have done a very professional job, and arrested him with hundreds of Kg of ivory- from his shop, hidden behind it, and in his house. This is a key arrest and we hope to get interesting specific information transmitted from Togo to several other countries through Interpol channels.

Emile N’bouke was first identified by Luc Mathot who coordinated our partner organization Conservation Justice in Gabon. Later, Julian Rademeyer and I went to investigate and work with the Togolese authorities and the newest LAGA replication, TALF, get him arrested. 

Emile N’bouke is a big international ivory trafficker, who described to Julian the amazing magnitude of his business, concealment methods etc. He explained CITES in detail, better than most government delegates and said we should not worry because ivory is not entirely illegal and more legal sales are expected. (food for thought, for what CITES decisions mean to the criminals). N’bouke, well connected and rich, started his ivory business the year I was born – 1976.

Other good news - in Cameroon on Friday we managed to rescue a baby chimp and an ape trafficker and his accomplice were arrested.  I attached a picture of the baby chimp with the materials used to conceal her. She was put inside a sack and inside a box that was transported by a bike. She is now with the care of Ape Action Africa.

Back in Gabon, the rest of the Conservation Justice team focused their attention on ivory trafficking and over the course of the last two weeks, a total of 3 important traffickers and their 6 accomplices have been arrested with about 140 kg of ivory. One of those arrested is a notorious kingpin known as ‘Obama’. This will be his third arrest, but this time we are intent on fighting corruption within the judicial system and bringing Obama to trial.

 

 

Since 2008, the award-winning LAGA model has been used to establish partner projects in Gabon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo and Guinea. Togo is the newest member of the team. This law enforcement network is now officially known as the EAGLE network – Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement.

With dedicated activists heading programmes in each of these countries, we wish the African EAGLE partners every success is curbing the continents trade in illegal wildlife products.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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