Wildlife trafficking threatens security and the rule of law, helping to finance the operations of a number of armed insurgent groups in Africa.
Illegal trade in wildlife parts and products is a multi-billion dollar per year business. Wildlife trafficking threatens security and the rule of law, helping to finance the operations of a number of armed insurgent groups in Africa. Organized crime’s increasing involvement in poaching and wildlife trafficking promotes corruption, strengthens illicit trade routes, destabilizes economies and undermines communities that depend on wildlife for biodiversity and tourism revenues.
Trade in ivory was banned in 1989 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. One of the iconic wildlife species in Africa, the elephants, is to the brink of extinction. Every day, some 60 to 100 elephants are killed for their ivory. If this crime continues, Africa will have lost 20 percent of its elephant population within a decade.
But the international community is fighting back. In late January, the United Nations Security Council adopted two resolutions targeting countries that are lenient with prosecution of poachers and traffickers, as well as destination countries, where demand for illicit wildlife is highest. In addition, several countries, including the United States, China, France, Gabon, and the Philippines, have crushed tons of confiscated ivory, to send a powerful message that wildlife products traded illegally will never enter the legal market. The crushing of confiscated ivory sends a clear message to poachers, wildlife traffickers, and consumers that the illegal trade of ivory and other wildlife products will not be tolerated.
The West African country of Togo is one of the latest to join those nations that are determined to protect Africa’s elephant population.
In January 2014, Togolese authorities seized more than four tons of illegal ivory. Individually and collectively, these are the largest seizures of illegal ivory in West Africa’s history. In August 2013, the Government of Togo arrested notorious wildlife trafficker Emile N’Bouke.
The United States commends the Government of Togo for its efforts in this fight to protect Africa’s wildlife.
These efforts from Togo contribute to the global battle against wildlife trafficking. The U.S. is committed to partnering with African countries, such as Togo, to combat this transnational threat.