November 29, 2017
A new court decision angers activists engaged in the fight against wildlife
crime. This is a decision of the Court of First Instance of Cotonou against
two traffickers for 18 months suspended, to 100,000 FCFA of fines and
1,000,000 FCFA of damages.
The hearing took place on Monday, November 27, 2017. For activists, this is
a “sentence that does not help the fight against the phenomenon.” For them,
this verdict still has the merit of making the public understand that
nothing will be the same as before and that “Zero Tolerance” is appropriate
for wildlife crimes in Benin.
Moreover, when we know that Benin has Law No. 2002-16 of 18 October 2004 on
the fauna regime in the Republic of Benin, there is reason to worry about
the fate of wildlife in light of this court decision.
As an appendix to this law, and in category A, the elephant is at the top
of the list of fully protected wild animals. Article 154 imposes a fine of
FCFA 300,000 to 800,000 and / or imprisonment of six months to five years
anyone who imports, exports, re-exports or markets wild animals or their
trophies and remains outside the permitted cases.
It should be remembered that these traffickers were apprehended by the
offense of marketing two tusks, equivalent to a shot elephant. Section 158
adds to the sentence announced by section 154. This penalty can be
increased to three times when the offense is committed in a protected area
or at the expense of a fully protected animal. In light of these provisions
of the law, and without risk of being mistaken, this conditional sentence
slows down the fight against wildlife crime.
This is the place to invite the actors in the fight against environmental
crimes to redouble their ardor to make it clear to all the links in the
chain of conviction that it takes really dissuasive decisions to discourage
This is one of the ways to dismantle the networks of illegal traffic of
wildlife products for the safeguarding of the fully protected wild
This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.
For further information on elephants please see Save the Elephants’ web site