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.
Their interrogation sheds light on ivory trafficking from Congo Brazzaville, on bribing and transport modus operendi. We search for links to north Cameroon as well.
We really needed this good news, as I just came back from a long mission in Togo and Guinea Conakry with no energy and with a broken spirit. I had high expectations to arrest a big ape trafficker in Guinea and a major ivory dealer in Togo. Both did not succeed, to my frustration.
Guinea Conakry was particularly frustrating as despite great collaboration with Interpol, the ministry of environment remains problematic and still controlled by an old guard reluctant to move forward. Any achievement we had in Guinea so far was despite the directorate in charge of CITES and not due to it. Not much has changed in Guinea as far as CITES is concerned.
Still, we move on and looking ahead for more arrests in the six countries our network work in.