200kg of poached ivory seized in Gabon may be biggest haul ever

Two men have been arrested after huge haul of ivory seized by government authorities

Daisy Fletcher
Wednesday 09 December 2015 14:59 GMT
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Five tons of ivory worth around $14 million waiting to be burnt in Libreville, Gabon
Five tons of ivory worth around $14 million waiting to be burnt in Libreville, Gabon (Getty)

Gabon - home to half of Africa’s endangered forest elephants - has impounded more than 200kg of ivory in what may be one of the largest hauls ever recorded.

Gabon’s 50,000 forest elephants are particular popular with ivory poachers because of their hard, straight tusks.

“We can confirm the seizure of around 200kg of ivory, which represents about 20 elephants,” said government spokesman Alain Claude Bilie By Nzé.

The conservation group Eagle said two Gabonese men originally from Nigeria and Cameroon were arrested on Monday.

According to Professor Lee White from Gabon’s National Agency for National Parks, one of the suspects worked for Gabon’s water and forest department.

Bilie By Nzé pointed out that the haul did not necessarily show that poaching was getting worse in Gabon, since the elephants were probably killed a long time ago.

Elephants in the northern Minkebe national park have been particularly vulnerable in recent years because it adjoins Cameroon, where poaching is rife.

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