1st Semester Report 2016

Despite many obstacles, tangible achievements were made over this period in LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF in the fields of investigation, arrest, prosecution, media exposure, government relations and international activities with focus on the fight against corruption, illegal wildlife trade, principally traffickers in ivory and ape skulls. Ivory networks were given special attention and with success, arresting ivory traffickers with old techniques and tactics that were revamped, polished and used. Ape traffickers were targeted within this period as a growing trend was uncovered with ape traffickers getting more and more organised. Trafficking in several other wildlife species equally drew the attention of the investigation and operations teams with several other arrests made.

20 major traffickers were arrested, at a rate of one for each 9 days. 71 % stayed behind bars from the day of arrest. Corruption was observed and combated in a number of the cases. 20 new cases were brought to the courts and 27 traffickers were found guilty and given prison sentences, fines, damages and penalties and 58, 080, 000 F CFA (about $116,000) were awarded to be paid to MINFOF. Media exposure was at a rate of one media piece per day.

The EAGLE network of LAGA replications became very effective in carrying out operations and 146 traffickers were arrested across 7 countries within the network during this semester. The LAGA team hosted activists from other countries for an intense training program including legal advisers from Senegal and Guinea and the Assistant Coordinator from Benin. LAGA Head of Investigations provided operation assistance in Senegal.

Governance issues and breach of procedure by some MINFOF delegations were prominent during this period – refusal to prosecute arrested wildlife traffickers and subsequently releasing them, influence peddling and threats were observed, while sidelining the organisation during some important events was equally observed and this was protested against to officials through phone calls.