WATCH: INTERPOL Operation WENDI helps dismantle ivory trafficking in Africa
Earlier this year, the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s (IFAW) team deployed to the Republic of Congo as part of an operation to dismantle networks of ivory and rhino horn traffickers in Central and West Africa. Named ‘Operation WENDI’ the efforts are a result of IFAW’s ongoing collaboration with INTERPOL.
Elephants face more threats today than ever before. For this reason, we need all of the law enforcement agencies around the world, starting with those working in source countries, to act in a coordinated manner. Only then will we be able to defeat criminal organizations that are killing elephants for their ivory.
Operation WENDI is a first step in this active struggle against the organized criminal networks that are decimating elephant populations. The Congolese authorities who were involved, namely the police, the gendarmerie and the LATF (Lusaka Agreement Task Force), have achieved positive and promising results. Nation-wide, more than thirty poachers and traffickers were arrested, 10 tusks and nearly 600 ivory pieces were seized, and four military-style weapons (PMAK) with eight ammunition magazines, among others things, were recovered.
The country’s participation in Operation WENDI comes after IFAW’s workshop against ivory trafficking held last year in Brazzaville from June 5-7. The workshop demonstrated the need to strengthen the cooperation between enforcement agencies at a national level to carry out joint operations such as the one announced today.
Watch IFAW in action during Operation WENDI: