Bonn, 16 July 2010 - Following its recent success in combating illegal hunting in May this year, the Project to Apply the Law on Fauna (PALF) has provided another progress report. The initiative, aimed towards protecting endangered species from illegal hunting in the Republic of Congo, was selected and featured on the Year of the Gorilla website as a priority project.
PALF’s main objectives include identifying large-scale dealers in illegal wildlife products and providing evidence to support action against them, securing arrests and prosecution leading to appropriate sentences and time served. It also raises awareness of increased enforcement of wildlife law and risks and penalties for wildlife criminals.
Close collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry Economy (MEF) and other governmental bodies, coupled with the funds provided by CMS and other sources, has enabled PALF to achieve its key objectives. Specifically, the funds provided by Monaco as a party to CMS, were beneficial to PALF’s Investigations Department. Between April 2008 and mid-October 2009, PALF established itself in Brazzaville and helped carry out some 23 arrests of wildlife traffickers, including dealers in ivory, leopard skins, great apes and more. Since then, missions outside Brazzaville have been conducted and successful in arresting some of the nation’s most infamous ivory dealers.
Mobility around the Republic of Congo is essential in carrying out effective and successful investigations, which is what the funds have been able to provide. As a result, investigations were carried out in Brazzaville, Pointe-Noire, and the Départements of Niari, Kouilou, Pool, Cuvette and Likouala. In addition, CMS’s contribution has allowed travel subsistence and telephone costs to be covered to facilitate further success of investigations inside and outside Brazzaville. Telephone communication is the essential link between investigators in the field and headquarters in Brazzaville.
In terms of expansion, the donation was particularly important in PALF’s mission to Pointe-Noire and Kouilou. Investigations were more thorough than expected and led to a much more comprehensive understanding of the area’s wildlife traffic. Several wildlife traffickers were arrested for leopard skin, gorilla hands and sculpted ivory. It also helped pay the rent for an office set up where a legal expert is now permanently stationed.
CMS has supported PALF’S development, providing useful resources to achieve many of the primary objectives of the project. The Convention relies on the support of Parties such as Monaco to continue the fight against illegal trade of endangered species in this region.