Born Free USA Global Field Projects
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.
There were many difficulties in getting arrest operations this month due to the limited number of field missions as a result of the presidential elections. Movement was limited and collaborators in the ministry in charge of wildlife could not travel. Also, officers of the forces of law and order used in operations were all on security alert, therefore not available to go to the field.
Despite the elections, a baby gorilla was rescued and plans are under way to arrest the dealer/poacher who captured it after killing the mother, according to investigations. The dealer is known to illegally trade in other protected wildlife and wildlife products, especially ivory.
Regional collaboration increased this month with LAGA director travelling to meet with conservation justice director in Gabon and worked on evaluation wildlife prosecutions, combating and prosecuting corrupt officers, regional strategy, obstacles to operations, etc.