A notorious ivory trafficker was arrested in Togo on 6 August 2013.
N’Bourke, who is known as “The Boss”, is an a ivory trafficking and poaching kingpin and is believed to have been operating for over 40 years, fueling the slaughter of over 10 000 elephants. The Daily Mail reported that upon being arrested, N’Bourke even admitted to having a special trading permit for ivory despite its global ban, although Togo’s environmental minister dismissed the claims.
In the first arrest of its kind in Togo, N’Bourke was detained after authorities seized more than 700 kilograms of ivory from his shop in the capital city of Lome. Environmental activists who had been investigating N’Bourke’s activities say that he was not only a buyer and seller of ivory but had been financing a variety of poaching rings that operate in Central Africa.
Togo is a country that houses just 60 elephants in its protected parks but is quickly becoming known as a transit station for ivory bound for Asia. Togo has a large shipping industry because it is the only naturally deep-water port in West Africa and this high volume of traffic could make it easier for poachers and traffickers to get the ivory out of Africa. Recent busts have been made in both Malaysia and Hong Kong on shipping containers bound from the area.
N’bourke is expected to appear in court next week and according to current law he could only face a maximum of one year in court for his crimes in the ivory trade, while other accusations of money laundering could see an extended sentence.
- Original Report: Becky Evans, AP Reporter, the Daily Mail