Serial poacher and ivory trafficker handed down a 30 year prison sentence

Tracking poachers in the Congo

REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO, AFRICA: a serial poacher and ivory trafficker has been convicted and jailed for 30 years in a major landmark case in the Republic of Congo. It is the first sentence of its kind because previously environmental crimes were tried in civil courts with jail sentences capped at five years.

The case concerns a notorious leader of an armed gang, Guyvanho, which spent over 10 years terrorising wildlife and rangers of the NouabalĂ©-Ndoli NP. He was convicted of the attempted murder of park rangers and other crimes. The park is in the north of the Congo and was established in 1993. It is an important park because it is the home of many of Africa’s rare great apes and forest elephants. Their future is uncertain.

Tracking poachers in the Congo

Tracking poachers in the Republic Of The Congo. Photo: CNN (modified).

The forest elephants have been confirmed to be a separate species from the larger and darker African savanna elephant. The forest elephants’ tusks are straighter and they point downwards rather than the conventional upward pointing tusks. Their population has fallen by more than 60 percent since 2002. They inhabit less than 25% of their original range.

The man had escaped from jail previously after his first arrest in May 2018. He had been sentenced in his absence to 5 years in prison. While on the run he committed further crimes and engaged in gun battles with park patrols while he led hunts. Two rangers were seriously injured during one battle. The park is managed through a public-private partnership between an American organisation called the Wildlife Conservation Society and the government of the Republic Of The Congo.

Comment: I am suspicious about American conservation programs and organisations. It appears to me that they want a foothold in Africa so that they can grant access to trophy hunters to these parks. The point that I’m making is that some wildlife conservation organisations have an ulterior motive or a hidden agenda which is to allow trophy hunters to kill animals in African parks. They profess that sport hunting is part of a conservation process.