In Congo, a notorious elephant poacher has been sentenced to 30 years of hard labor for poaching, ivory smuggling, and attempted murder of park rangers. That says nature organization Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which calls the case a milestone in the fight against poaching.
Mobanza Mobembo Gerard, also known as Guyvanho, led raids in which an estimated 500 elephants lost their lives since 2008. Known as the “butcher of Nouabalé Ndoki”, he is the first game smuggler to be convicted in the Central African country. Previously, environmental crimes were settled in civil court, and convicts could receive up to five years in prison.
The ruling is an “extremely strong message that wildlife-related crime is not tolerated and will be prosecuted at the highest level,” Emma Stokes, WCS regional director, said in a statement on Monday.
The charge of attempted murder against Guyvanho related to a 2019 incident when his poaching group opened fire on rangers patrolling Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, WCS said. Several of them were injured.
Nouabalé-Ndoki is 4,000 square kilometers in size and is located in the north of Congo. The dense rainforest is a sanctuary for the region’s rare forest elephants, which were only identified as a different species from the larger African savanna elephants in 2010.