Quantcast

Kingpin Behind Bars for Poaching Chimps in Africa

World Wildlife Fund

A man who has admitted trafficking more than 500 endangered chimpanzees out of the West African country Republic of Guinea has been captured and sentenced to the maximum possible jail term and a fine, according to a law enforcement group involved with the case.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The organization Guinée Application de la Loi Faunique (GALF) says convicted kingpin Ousmane Diallo and his two accomplices, who also received prison sentences, have been implicated in the poaching of chimps, lions, leopards, hyenas and tropical birds over the past decade.

“Breaking these networks will require a real commitment from the Guinean authorities as major criminals take advantage of the lack of political will and the lightness of the penalties,” said Charlotte Houpline, GALF founder and coordinator. “But this time the result is excellent, we arrested one of biggest ape traffickers and we obtained one year in prison against him, the most severe penalty under Guinean law for this type of offense. It is a historic decision.”

Poaching and trafficking of chimpanzees has driven the species into severe decline. All cross-border trade in great apes like chimps, gorillas and orang-utans is prohibited under international law, but the demand for the animals by zoos, wildlife parks and as exotic pets has continued. Republic of Guinea was sanctioned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species earlier this year for circumventing rules meant to safeguard the country’s wild animals.

“Poachers target young chimpanzees for the illegal pet trade, but their families will often fight to the death to protect them," said David Greer of World Wildlife Fund (WWF). "For every baby that is exported alive another 10 chimps may have died. Infants often perish from the trauma of capture leading poachers to pursue yet another victim, and repeating time and again the tragic killing scenario.”

“There are as few as 8,000 chimpanzees remaining in Republic of Guinea.” Greer says. “To prevent ape populations from careening toward extinction, countries across West and Central Africa must provide better protection, undertake more thorough investigations, conduct rigorous prosecutions, eradicate corruption in the legal system and impose stronger penalties to deter poachers and traffickers.”

The operation to apprehend the fugitive syndicate was undertaken by the Guinean government’s INTERPOL bureau and GALF. WWF supports GALF’s work on wildlife crime investigations. During the sting, authorities seized 150 birds and were able to release them safely back into the wild.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

New pine trees grow from the forest floor along the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western boundary of Glacier National Park on Sept. 16, 2019 near West Glacier, Montana. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

By Alex Kirby

New forests are an apparently promising way to tackle global heating: the trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from human activities. But there's a snag, because permanently lower river flows can be an unintended consequence.

Read More
Household actions lead to changes in collective behavior and are an essential part of social movements. Pixabay / Pexels

By Greg McDermid, Joule A Bergerson, Sheri Madigan

Hidden among all of the troubling environmental headlines from 2019 — and let's face it, there were plenty — was one encouraging sign: the world is waking up to the reality of climate change.

So now what?

Read More
Sponsored
Logging state in the U.S. is seen representing some of the consequences humans will face in the absence of concrete action to stop deforestation, pollution and the climate crisis. Mark Newman / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Talk is cheap, says the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, who begged governments around the world to make sure that 2020 is not another year of conferences and empty promises, but instead is the year to take decisive action to stop the mass extinction of wildlife and the destruction of habitat-sustaining ecosystems, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
The people of Kiribati have been under pressure to relocate due to sea level rise. A young woman wades through the salty sea water that flooded her way home on Sept. 29, 2015. Jonas Gratzer / LightRocket via Getty Images

Refugees fleeing the impending effects of the climate crisis cannot be forced to return home, according to a new decision by the United Nations Human Rights Committee, as CNN reported. The new decision could open up a massive wave of legal claims by displaced people around the world.

Read More
The first day of the Strike WEF march on Davos on Jan. 18, 2020 near Davos, Switzerland. The activists want climate justice and think the WEF is for the world's richest and political elite only. Kristian Buus / In Pictures via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is returning to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the 2020 World Economic Forum with a strong and clear message: put an end to the fossil fuel "madness."

Read More