Gabon ignites the fight against ivory traffickers
In June 2012, Gabon’s president Ali Bongo made a historic move by personally setting fire to a seized ivory stockpile, sending an explicit and forewarning message to wildlife criminals. Following this example, the U.S. publicly destroyed six tons of confiscated ivory in November 2013. In the last decade, the rising demand for ivory – particularly in East Asia – has led to a dramatic decline of elephant populations across Africa. In Central Africa alone, nearly two-thirds of forest elephants have been poached between 2002 and 2012. Bas Huijbregts, head of WWF’s campaign against illegal wildlife trade in Central Africa, remarks that “destroying seized ivory [ ] not only raises awareness about the crisis, but ensures that it will be kept out of the illegal ivory market.
Original article posted: 15.11.13 Updated: 02.12.13