Photo Credit: Conservation Justice

Wildlife law enforcement in Gabon

08.07.2016

CONSERVATION PROBLEM
 

Illegal hunting is the most immediate threat to most elephant and other species populations in the Central African sub-region.

Target species in this project are seriously threatened by smugglers : elephants for ivory, apes for babies and "bushmeat", leopards for skins and manatees for "bushmeat". They are emblematic species, and the smugglers are a big threat to their survival and importance for the future of Gabon's environment.

For example, Gabon contains significant populations of elephants which are recognised as being at risk from poaching. Although national laws prohibit the killing of these animals, the enforcement of the laws has historically been weak and provided no deterrent value.

Consequently the hunting of elephant and the trade in their ivory, meat, body parts has been carried out quite freely. As the ivory traffic is increasing worldwide, Gabonese elephants represent an easy target for traffickers.

Project Activities

The mission of this project is to fight commercial poaching and the related trade in endangered species. By working closely with government bodies, the project intends to bring about significant convictions in Gabon under wildlife legislation.

This will not only curtail the activities of those prosecuted but, supported by a pro-active media campaign, will also act as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to engage in such activities. In this way the trade in illegal wildlife products is reduced, and hence the incentive to hunt elephant and other endangered species is minimized.

Conservation Justice support authorities to organize arrests for about 50 wildlife traffickers per year in Gabon. Cases are followed by legal advisers and lawyers, and 365 media pieces are diffused per year.

Project Outcomes

1. Increased capacity of understanding Gabonese wildlife law.

2. Increased capacity of arresting officers for future enforcement of wildlife laws.

3. Legal prosecution of wildlife crimes nationwide at the rate of once a week, and cracking down of wildlife crime cartels.

4. One media pieces published per day to raise public aware of the change in the Government of Gabon's dealings with perpetrators of the wildlife protection laws.

5. Active and efficient collaboration between government and the project team's organisation fighting wildlife crime nationwide.

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