African Conservation Group With Unusual Mission: Enforcement

Science

African Conservation Group With Unusual Mission: Enforcement

By JAMES GORMANOCT. 12, 2015

African conservation

Ofir Drori was involved in the undercover effort to gather evidence against Ansoumane Doumbouya, a former government official. Credit Jake Naughton for The New York Times

For years, Ansoumane Doumbouya was Guinea’s top official for wildlife protection. He was also the country’s representative to meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Now he is in jail in Conakry, the capital, charged with conducting illegal international trade in the very creatures he was responsible for protecting, including chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos.

His arrest is particularly important, activists say, because he was a governmental official and because corruption in governments on both the exporting and importing end of illegal wildlife trade is very difficult to fight. The arrest also highlights the actions of a rare kind of nongovernmental wildlife organization that is devoted not to education, the creation of sanctuaries or policy changes — but to enforcement. Read more.