Traffic : Kinshasa’s ivory market still flourishing, finds TRAFFIC study
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), 30th August 2017–a new TRAFFIC report launched today finds Kinshasa’s notorious ivory markets going underground following increased enforcement activity.
Until quite recently, the market for elephant ivory was flourishing in DRC, despite the illegality of the trade. Some markets - the most famous of which is Bikeko, which sits across from the seat of the government in the city centre - exhibits and sells ivory objects in full view of ordinary citizens and enforcement authorities alike.
The illegal trade in ivory was quietly tolerated for years and the open market would see unscrupulous traders flout their business in broad daylight with little fear of repercussions. This historical tolerance of the open ivory market has slowly been reversed since 2015, however, and seizures and arrests have occurred with increasing frequency.
Enforcement efforts have resulted in the seizure of 590.8 kg of ivory between 2015 and 2016 and the arrest of approximately 50 traffickers and traders.
DRC's legal framework and the enforcement regime for wildlife crime has strengthened following the enactment of Law No. 14/003 of 11 February 2014 on the Conservation of Nature. The development and implementation of the CITES mandated National Ivory Action Plan (NIAP) between March - April 2015 was an additional impetus to the fight against ivory trafficking in the country.
The NIAP aims to strengthen the fight against elephant poaching and illicit ivory trafficking through co-ordinated collaborative, regulative and enforcement action.