Giants Club: Fighting poachers is fighting terrorism

At present, there are more forest elephants in Gabon than in any other country

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Gabon is blessed with one of the most varied ecosystems on Earth.

At present, there are more forest elephants in Gabon than in any other country, and it is here that the species has the greatest chance of survival.

Unfortunately, the illegal killing of elephants and trade in their ivory is out of control across Africa, undermining ecosystem integrity, economic development and the rule of law.

A year ago I spoke at a London conference on wildlife poaching and stressed the importance of a concerted global effort against what is no less than large-scale organised crime.

I want to rally the international community’s attention to the fact that when we fight against poachers, we fight against terrorists in a broader sense.

Today I am proud to say that Gabon has further bolstered its commitment by signing an agreement with the renowned Space for Giants organisation, which has been particularly successful in northern Kenya since 2006.

We are joining its exclusive forum of political and business leaders working to safeguard at least 40,000 African elephants by 2020.

Our nation will continue to encourage the valiant work of our park rangers. Every day they fight to conserve our precious environment. I commend them for their courage.

But these are domestic footsteps in an international struggle. Together we must become aware of the challenges ahead. We must co-ordinate national initiatives along with our partners.

We must act now, and we must act united.

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