30 kg ivory seized in Gabon

Libreville, Jan 5 (IANS) Park wardens have seized 30 kg of ivory tusks from poachers in Minkebe park in northern Gabon, an official said on Monday.

The park wardens who were on patrol, discovered a camp of poachers near the Gabonese border with Cameroon, Xinhua reported.

Fearing arrest, six of the suspected poachers fled and only one was apprehended. He was identified as Jean Claude Aboule Minkoume of Cameroonian nationality, just like his compatriots.

After a thorough search, the park wardens discovered in the camp 30 kg of ivory tusks, suggesting at least 14 elephants had been killed. Besides this discovery, they also found some weapons.

Elephants are some of the protected animals in Gabon. The country’s forest code stipulates that killing, holding, transporting and selling products from protected animal species are prohibited and could be punished with six months’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of 10 million CFA Francs (over $16,000).

Environmental NGOs have termed the penalty as very lenient. They have been calling for harsher penalties to discourage poaching.

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