Friday, September 04, 2015

Guinea Wildlife Official Arrested for Trafficking

credit: Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP)
Guinea's former director of its main wildlife enforcement agency, Ansoumane Doumbouya, was arrested last month for allegedly
issuing fraudulent CITES permits for the export of various protected species including chimpanzees, parrots and manatees. A cooperative undercover investigation exposed his activities although he had been identified for years prior as a central figure in the illegal West African wildlife trade. He served as Guinea's authority to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). His briefcase was opened in court to reveal numerous blank CITES export forms. If he is convicted of his crimes, the penalty is up to ten years in prison. He is held in a Conakry cell while investigators continue to collect evidence against him. His arrest also led to the arrest of another major trafficker, Thierno Barry. Wildlife advocates expressed approval to the Guinean government that "the vicious cycle of impunity has been broken".

Despite the mounting evidence against him. Doumbouya continued to attend international conferences as Guinea's representative, apparently comfortable that in the end he would be protected by political allies. A CITES mission to Guinea in 2011 found 69 chimpanzees had been exported in 2010 alone, all going to China for imprisonment in zoos or parks. Private investigations have revealed that as many 138 chimpanzees and 10 gorillas were exported via trade routes established by Chinese development companies. Doumbouya's signature was found on CITES permits that sent bonobos to Armenia in 2011.