Congo Brazzaville joins the EPI
13 January 2016
The Republic of the Congo has confirmed that it will join the Elephant Protection Initiative (EPI), the African-led conservation programme to eradicate the ivory trade and stop the continued slaughter of the continent’s elephants by poachers.
The commitment was announced by the Congo delegation at the 66th Standing Committee meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Geneva yesterday.
Roger Mbete, Congo’s Director of Wildlife & Protected Areas, said, “Congo is a stronghold for one of the most important populations of forest elephants, and is working hard to ensure their protection through a number of initiatives. These include the creation of new protected areas, improved wildlife protection in production landscapes, such as forestry concessions, and the development of a national anti-poaching strategy. In this way we hope to be able to safeguard elephants, their forest habitat, and the livelihoods of the people who depend on those forests.”
According to the most recent census carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), forest elephants in the Central African region lost 65 percent of its elephants between 2002 and 2012. Forest elephants in this part of Africa are being slaughtered for their ivory at a rate of 9 percent a year.
Mark Gately, Director of WCS’s Congo Programme, said, “Congo has shown real leadership in the field of conservation for many years, protecting its elephants and other wildlife under innovative management models in Nouabale-Ndoki and Odzala-Koukoua National Parks. By joining the Elephant Protection Initiative, the country has underlined its commitment to take concerted action to protect its elephants, and WCS is honoured to work alongside the government to support these efforts.’
The Republic of the Congo – which harbours a quarter of Africa’s remaining forest elephants – demonstrated its opposition to the ivory trade and its support for elephant conservation last year when, on the eve of a summit to draw up the first pan-African strategy on wildlife poaching, President Denis Sassou N’Guesso set fire to 4.7 tonnes of ivory. The move was heralded by international and local media, as well as conservationists worldwide, as an act of significant symbolism in the flight to end the illegal ivory trade.
Sir David Richmond, CEO, The Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation said, “The Brazzaville Foundation for Peace and Conservation warmly welcomes the announcement by the Republic of Congo that it is joining the Elephant Protection Initiative, and is supporting efforts to end the trade in ivory. As long as the ivory trade continues, the future of the African elephant is in peril. The Brazzaville Foundation urges all governments to back the Elephant Protection Initiative.”