Breaking! 118 Elephant Ivory Tusks Seized By Customs Officials In Cameroon, Central Africa; We Must End The Ivory Trade!

The seized tusks in Cameroon. Photo by Maha Ngalie, MINFOF, Ministry of Forestry and Fauna, Cameroon

Customs officials in Cameroon seized 118 ivory tusks weighing approximately 626 kg last week. The tusks were hidden in a truck of merchandise in Ambam, in the southern region of Cameroon in Central Africa. As per TRAFFIC, this marks the largest seizure made in the area, where the three countries of Cameroon, Gabon, and Equatorial Guinea meet.

According to Cameroonian officials involved in the investigation, one suspect was caught at the scene and is reported to be a Cameroonian arriving from Gabon. The suspect reportedly has connections to an international wildlife trafficking network.

The size of the seizure is above the 500 kg threshold considered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to be indicative of organized criminal activity. Arrest warrants are expected to follow the investigation.

“TRAFFIC congratulates Cameroonian Customs for this important seizure, and in line with CITES guidelines, we urge the authorities to carry out a thorough forensic examination of the shipment, and also liaise with enforcement colleagues in any other countries implicated in the trafficking to try and bring the perpetrators to justice,” Denis Mahonghol, Director of TRAFFIC Central Africa, said in a statement.

In 2016, TRAFFIC launched AFRICA-TWIX, The Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange, an online tool developed to facilitate the exchange of information and co-operation between enforcement officers in Central African countries. The system includes both a secure mailing list and a database of wildlife seizures and criminal prosecutions, and has around 200 active users from Forestry and Justice Departments, Customs, Police, ICPO-INTERPOL, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

By means of using the AFRICA-TWIX platform, Cameroon TWIX users are now able to communicate quickly with counterparts in neighboring countries, allowing for fast and deeper cross-border investigations into one of the biggest cases of organized wildlife crime involving Cameroon and its neighbors.

A number of investigations have been triggered based on information shared on AFRICA-TWIX, including in 2016, a case where 44 ivory tusks from Gabon were seized by rangers from a vessel flying a flag of convenience in the territorial waters of Cameroon and heading to Nigeria. A subsequent investigation revealed that the tusks had originated from an earlier robbery of a ivory stockpile.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

More on this topic

Popular stories

Cory Booker Among More Than 60 U.S. Senators & Representatives Urging The World Health Organization To End Wet Markets

A bipartisan group of United States senators and representatives have sent a letter urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to take “aggressive action toward a global shutdown...

Breaking! Three New Wolf Pups Mark First Litter To Be Born In Colorado In 80 Years

Between June 4th and 8th, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) staff members observed three new wolf pups with their parents, collared wolves M2101 “John” and F1084 “Jane" who are known...

Breaking! Hawaii To Be The Next State To Ban Testing On Animals For Cosmetics; Sign Petition To Pass Federal Legislation As Well

Hawaii is in line to become the next state to ban testing on animals for cosmetics after the Hawaii Cruelty Free Cosmetics Act passed...