WCS Applauds Republic of Congo
For Leading Wildlife Trafficking Conference and Ivory Burn
Brazzaville (April 29, 2015) – The following statement was issued today by Dr. John Robinson, WCS Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science at the conclusion of the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa:
“We applaud the Government of the Republic of Congo and President Denis Sassou Nguesso for hosting the first-ever Africa-wide event to develop a strategy to put an end to wildlife trafficking in fauna and flora on the continent. The 4-day conference provides us with a plan for tackling a problem that threatens the world’s natural heritage.
“It’s fitting that we mark this gathering with a burning of seized hardwood timber and the country’s entire stockpile of illegal ivory totaling 4.7 tonnes. The Republic of Congo joins a growing list of countries opting to burn or crush ivory stockpiles as a means of sending a global message on the plight of elephants and a warning to would-be traffickers.
“We commend the Government for not only destroying this ivory to put it beyond economic use but for implementing a new system for recording and managing illegal ivory. Congolese officials now track ivory inventory with a new tablet technology that helps maintain the chain of custody from the site of seizure to the central depot in Brazzaville, and to the burn site. This technology is currently being used to document new seizures in the country’s most prized natural treasures: Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park and Odzala National Park.
“On another front, the Republic of Congo is working to strengthen international restrictions on the trade in illegal ivory through the recent submission of its National Ivory Action Plan to CITES, completed with technical support from WCS and already in the process of being implemented.
“The Republic of Congo is showing strong leadership in the fight against poachers and illegal loggers, and we’re hopeful that today’s ivory and timber burn will signify a turning point in the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking.”
The April 29th Ivory Burn event was coordinated and implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society in collaboration with the Government of Congo and with additional technical expertise provided by Stop Ivory. Financial support for the ivory burn was provided by Stop Ivory and the Wildcat Foundation.
WCS works with the Republic of Congo to protect its elephants, gorillas, and other threatened species. Since the early 1990s, WCS has assisted the Government in managing the wildlife and habitat of its protected areas, including Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, Conkouati-Douli National Park, and Odzala-Kokua National Park. In addition, WCS has partnered with both government and communities to create and manage the Lac Tele Community Reserve, and with logging companies to protect wildlife in timber concessions that surround national parks.
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org<http://www.wcs.org>; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia Follow: @thewcs.