Togo commended for efforts to combat wildlife trafficking - The US has commended Togo for its 'major strides' to combat international wildlife trafficking, including the recent arrest of three major illegal wildlife traffickers in Togo.
PANA reports Friday that US Secretary John Kerry personally made the commendation, in a phone call to Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe Thursday, according to the US State Department.
Mr. Kerry said Togo had sent a strong message to the world about its commitment to protecting Africa’s elephant populations.
In the last month, Togolese authorities have made multiple seizures of illegal ivory, totaling more than four tons. Individually and collectively, these are the largest seizures of illegal ivory in West Africa’s history.
In a separate incident in August 2013, the Government of Togo arrested notorious wildlife trafficker Emile N’Bouke.
The US said Togo’s efforts contribute to the worldwide struggle against illegal wildlife trafficking and assured of its continued partnership with Togo in combating this transnational threat.
Wildlife trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise that has expanded from a conservation concern to a security threat.
The increasing involvement of organised crime in poaching and wildlife trafficking promotes corruption, strengthens illicit trade routes, destabilises economies and communities that depend on wildlife for their livelihoods, and contributes to the spread of disease.
In July 2013, President Obama signed an Executive Order to marshal the efforts of the U.S. Government to meet this challenge at home and to assist foreign governments combating wildlife trafficking and related transnational organised crime.
In November 2013, the State Department also announced its first reward offer of up to US$1 million under the President’s Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime for information on a prominent wildlife trafficking network in Southeast Asia.