Notorious poacher and ivory trafficker, ‘Guyvanho,’ accused of killing up to 500 elephants, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the Republic of Congo. This marks the first-ever wildlife trafficker to be convicted in Criminal Court in Congo.
Mobanza Mobembo Gérard, ‘Guyvanho,’ was found guilty and sentenced on August 19th for attempted murder of park rangers, ivory trafficking from poached elephants, and possession of military weapons, among other charges. Gérard was also required to pay damages of 38 million Central African Francs (USD $68,000) to the injured rangers.
Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park’s Wildlife Crime Unit and Anti-Poaching Department worked on this case for nearly three years with the cooperation of Congolese authorities, including the Ministry of Forest Economy, the Police, and District Prosecutors.
“This unprecedented conviction in criminal court is a major milestone in the protection of wildlife in the Republic of Congo. Previously, all environmental crimes were tried in the civil courts where the maximum penalty under the wildlife law was five years,” said Dr. Emma Stokes, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Regional Director of Central Africa, in a statement. “Today’s sentencing sends an extremely strong message that wildlife crime will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted at the highest levels. We are confident that today’s sentence will serve as a deterrent to would-be criminals that you will serve hard time if you break our wildlife laws and put park rangers and Congo’s national security in danger.”
Some of the incredible wildlife organizations and government agencies that have supported and worked on this case include:
Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), The Wildcat Foundation, Save the Elephants’ and Wildlife Conservation Network’s Elephant Crisis Fund, the Sangha Trinational Trust Fund, US State Department’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), the European Union, and the United States Agency for International Development’s Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment (USAID-CARPE).
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