Congo burns ivory and leads development of Africa-wide strategy to tackle illegal trade in wild fauna and flora

On the occasion of the Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa being hosted by The Republic of Congo, the country has destroyed 4.7 tonnes of ivory. The ivory was set alight by His Excellency President Denis Sassou Nguesso outside the Palais de Congrès in Brazzaville.

The Republic of Congo becomes the 11th country or territory to publicly burn or crush its stockpile in the last two years, sending a clear signal that ivory is ‘off the menu.’

Forests and wildlife are part of our common African heritage but are disappearing at an alarming pace... We have a duty to work together, as a continent, to safeguard our unique biodiversity for present and future generations and to craft strong collective solutions to address this calamity.
— Denis Sassou Nguesso

African Heads of State, government representatives and experts have gathered at the Conference where they intend to develop a common roadmap to end the rampant wildlife trafficking on the continent. The strategy and action plan will be further considered at the next African Union Heads of State Summit later this year. The burn also adds Congo’s voice to a growing common appeal to consumers the world over to recognise that ivory consumption is driving the collapse of elephant populations across Africa.

The April 29th ivory burn event was coordinated and implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society in collaboration with the Government of Congo and with additional technical expertise provided by Stop Ivory. Financial support for the ivory burn and inventory was also provided by Stop Ivory, WCS Congo Program and The Wildcat Foundation.

“It is very encouraging to see Congo taking a leadership role in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade and poaching. Today’s ivory burn, and the government’s earlier decision to put in place a transparent system to manage seized ivory, demonstrates that the country is serious about tackling a problem that is putting Africa’s wildlife at grave risk”, said Mark Gately, Director of WCS’s Congo Program.