WWF Concern as Ape Parts and Leopard Skins Uncovered in Gabon
Posted on January 19th 2011
WWF charity officials were left stunned after law enforcement officers arrested five men accused of possessing a whole horde of endangered animal parts. The find, in Gabon, West Africa, included a wide and varied selection of horrific and totally illegal parts of many species on the endangered list, including gorilla and chimpanzee heads, hands, leopard skins and elephant tails.
The seizure, by the Water and Forest Ministry and AALF officials was seen as a huge success in the effort to put a halt to this disgusting business. The AALF, known by the French acronym for Support for the Application of the Wildlife Act, helps to assist local authorities with wildlife crime in the area. Their job is to investigate and push for rigorous prosecutions in the trade of endangered species.
WWF African Great Ape Manager, David Greer, said –
WWF commends the Water and Forest Ministry and AALF for this important arrest. However, the massive collection of protected species confiscated in this operation is highly disturbing. To my knowledge, there has not been a seizure of great ape body parts of this magnitude in Central Africa over the last ten years.
Though the trade in illegal animal parts is nothing new to this region, this finding will hopefully scupper the supplies future customers from looking in this area. This heinous business needs to be stopped as soon as possible, and hopefully the appropriate consequences will be applied to the illegal poaches and hopeful to also to their prospective customers.