Born Free USA Global Field Projects
(The following was written by Ofir Drori, the Last Great Ape Organization's founder.)
Today we managed to get three ivory dealers arrested with 24 tusks, mostly of very young elephants.
One of the traffickers has been a target of our investigation for the last four months, and while they were all very aware of the enforcement efforts and pulled many tricks to avoid possible arrest, they were still outsmarted by our investigator.
(The following is an excerpt from LAGA's monthly report for July 2012.)
with confiscated ivory behind him.
More Last Great Ape project images
This month was marked by good operations in Cameroon and training carried out in South Sudan. Three operations were carried out against four dealers.
Two major dealers arrested for trying to trade in a live mandrill in Ambam (South). They initially resisted arrest, arguing and fighting with the operations team. They claim to have sold many live primates before and that they have been in the trade for long.
A military man arrested with two elephant tusks and teeth while trying to illegally trade in them in Douala (Littoral). Because of his job, it is suspected that he uses this means to trade in ivory internationally; this is still being investigated.
Note: Born Free USA contributed $7,500 to the Last Great Ape Organization in the fall of 2011.
This month was marked by the arrest of 2 fugitive dealers, the printing of the French version of the LAGA Manual, and the important meetings held by the LAGA Director in Gabon.
Two fugitive dealers were sentenced to six months imprisonment term each by the Court of First Instance of Abong Mbang (East) for illegal detention of 20 ivory tusks in September 2011. They had been arrested at Salapoumbe around Lobeke National Park (East). LAGA assisted in their transfer to Abong Mbang prison and putting the right legal procedures in place so that they could effectively serve imprisonment terms.
In August 2010, the Last Great Ape Organization found itself in the worst cash-flow crisis it had experienced for years. It appealed to Born Free USA for financial support to save it from a total standstill.
LAGA operates with clear, measurable wildlife law enforcement objectives that need to be achieved on a monthly cycle, and a month with no arrests is a disaster that should be avoided.
(Taken from the Born Free Foundation’s website.)
David Jay talks to Ofir Drori, founder of the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA). Born Free has supported this project since 2004.
What is your goal in your work with LAGA?
Our goal is bringing about effective wildlife law enforcement. Most of the countries in west and central Africa are yet to apply the wildlife law. We are here to change this,
The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) is a unique non-governmental organization (NGO) located in Cameroon that participates in law-enforcement activities. Through partnership with the government of Cameroon, LAGA staff members conduct investigations and aid in the apprehension of wildlife traffickers. In addition, LAGA provides public education and ensures the humane handling of confiscated animals.