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#Press release: How to save the #Elephants of Central #Africa #Congo #Eco #Free #ebooks

29 Apr

HOW TO SAVE THE ELEPHANTS OF CENTRAL AFRICA
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS
Press Conference in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo
26 April 2013

African Parks Network (APN)
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)
Fondation pour le Tri-National de Sangha (FTNS)
Projet d’appui à l’Application de la Loi sur la Faune Sauvage (PALF)
TRAFFIC
Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature (UICN)
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
WWF

Press Communication – 26 April 2013 – Brazzaville, Republic of Congo – APN, IFAW, FTNS, TRAFFIC, PALF, UICN, WCS, WWF
Brazzaville, Republic of Congo (26 April 2013)

The elephants of Central Africa are dying.

A recent study1 shows forest elephant populations in the CongoBasin fell by almost two-thirds – or 62% –
over the past decade as a result of extensive ivory poaching.

Without action, it is likely that the elephant, the largest land mammal on earth, will follow in the footsteps of
the rhinoceroses in Central Africa, which have been hunted to extinction for their horns.

This wildlife crime has a destabilizing effect on the governance of countries in the sub-region. Rampant
poaching and illegal wildlife trade nurtures international criminality and undermines the economic and social
prospects of Central African states. It is in the economic interest of these countries to vigorously combat this
scourge.

Therefore, we, who represent many of the largest conservation organizations active in the CongoBasin, are
convened here to propose effective solutions to this poaching crisis. The states of the sub-region must
implement these solutions in order to save their elephants, which they themselves have qualified as a
universal natural heritage of humanity.2

To save this natural heritage, it is imperative, and in the shortest time period possible, that the presidents
or the prime ministers of the Central African States lead the fight against wildlife crime by piloting and
overseeing National Coordination Units (NCUs). These units, which will be comprised of experts from the
administrations of the Prime Minister, the Counter-Intelligence, Justice, Wildlife, Police, Customs and
Defense, will share information, coordinate field operations, prosecution, and collaborate with technical
partners.

At the supranational level, the heads of these NCUs should coordinate with the countries of the region, on a
case-by-case basis, depending on the information at hand and the urgency of the situation. These units will
share information with their counterparts in the countries that have associated links with wildlife criminality
– including transit countries for illegal wildlife products such as Nigeria, Sudan, Togo and Guinea Conakry –
and with specialized international organizations such as INTERPOL.

Finally, the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of these NCUs must be made by the Forestry
Commission of Central Africa on an annual basis and be based on information received by email from the
heads of the NCUs.

In addition, the states of Central Africa must immediately:

1. Signal to poachers and the criminal trafficking networks that the natural heritage of Central Africa
will be defended – The Heads of State in the CongoBasin must promulgate and publicly announce
stringent measures against wildlife crime.

2. Adopt an attitude of "zero tolerance" against corruption – Undue influence, abuse of power and
other forms of corruption relating to trading are the primary obstacles to effective enforcement
against major traffickers of illegal wildlife products in Central Africa.

3. Increase the penalties and strengthen enforcement relating to wildlife crimes, as well as crimes
relating to the sale of arms and large-scale ammunition-based hunting. Earlier this week, Mr. Yury
Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC), called
for wildlife offenses to be punished with imprisonment of four years or more.3 Undocumented
weapons and ammunition seized in flagrante delicto should systematically be destroyed.

4. Focus on the protection and proper management of certain priority protected areas – These areas
should become core areas for the protection of wildlife in the sub-region and be co-managed long
term by specialized non-governmental agencies.

5. Initiate a dialogue with consumer countries – China and Thailand are, respectively, the largest ivory
consumer and the largest center of legal ivory trade in the world. In the long-term, the survival of
the elephants in Central Africa and throughout the world depends on the end of international ivory
demand. Thus, it is essential that the Central Africa States have bilateral dialogues with China and
Thailand, explaining the ecological, economic and security consequences of their demand for ivory.
It is important to note that the Central Africa States have already begun implementing a number of these
recommendations, including through regional institutions.4 It is particularly encouraging to note that some
countries have already started strengthening their wildlife laws, making their first arrests and convictions of
major traffickers, as well as making audits of their ivory stocks and destroying them.

That said, Central Africa is pressed for time, and wildlife criminals are still active throughout the region. We
are here to ask the Central Africa States, the guardians of these elephants, to renew their efforts to save this
natural heritage.

A certain amount of regional coordination is needed. Nevertheless, it is countries of Central Africa who are
capable of saving the elephants. The survival of this natural heritage of elephants depends entirely on the
willingness of the states, their governments and their citizens to take steps to stop wildlife criminality.
We, the conservation organizations, look forward to continuing to work with the Central Africa States to end
large-scale poaching and wildlife crime.

The time for talk is over. Take Action!

1 Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa – PloSOne 4 March 2013.
2 Déclaration sur la Lutte Anti-Braconnage en Afrique Centrale – Réunion d’Urgence des Ministres de la CEEAC le 21-23 mars 2013.
Press Communication – April 26, 2013 – Brazzaville, Republic of Congo –FTNS, TRAFFIC, PALF, UICN, WCS, WWF
3 See http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2013/April/heads-of-unodc-and-cites-urge-wildlife-and-forest-offences-to-be-treatedas-
serious-transnational-organized-crimes.html

4 See, among others, Plan d’Action sous régional des Pays de l’Espace COMIFAC pour le renforcement de l’Application des
Législations nationales sur la Faune Sauvage, Déclaration finale de la réunion de ministre sur la lutte anti-braconnage en Afrique
Centrale and the Plan d’Extrême Urgence de Lutte Anti Braconnage.

Press Communication – 26 April 2013 – Brazzaville, Republic of Congo – APN, IFAW, FTNS, TRAFFIC, PALF, UICN, WCS, WWF

For more information please contact:
APN Norbert GAMI Community Coordinator
norbertg +242 05 73 37 311
IFAW Anselme NONGAMANI IFAW Coordinator in Congo
nongamani +242 06 65 95 192
FTNS Timothée FOMETE Director, Tri-National de Sangha
fometetim +237 99 93 64 46
PALF Gilles MIAMBANZILA Head of Communications
Hermanndegilles +242 06 68 34 121
TRAFFIC Louisette Sylvie NGO YEBEL Head of Communications TRAFFIC Africa
Louisette.ngo-yebel +237 91 49 25 61 / +237 79 51 72 84
UICN Léonard USONGO Head of Cameroun Programme
Leonard.USONGO +237 77 93 33 31
WCS Jérôme Mokoko Assistant Director General WCS Congo
Jrmokoko +242 05 55 11 785
WWF Jules CARON Head of Communications for WWF anti-poaching program in Central Africa
jcaron +237 79 51 90 97

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Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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