Benin - AALF-B
The illegal wildlife trade is 4th largest among illicit trafficking in the world, with profits estimated at $ 19 billion per year. The current UN Secretary General has described the fight against trafficking as an environmental as well as cultural heritage issue of many countries but also issue of security, stability and economy.
The Benin is not spared by this traffic, with poachers operating in the north of the country around the Pendjari Park and the Park W. Moreover, Cotonou is a major transit area for smuggling wildlife products from other countries because it is equipped with an autonomous port and an international airport.
Illegal hunting for the purpose of trafficking remains the most immediate threat against strictly or partly protected animals remains in Benin and in the sub-region. These activities are illegal and the low level of law enforcement and the resources available have encouraged the development of traffic and its expansion. The species targeted by poachers are mainly elephants, big cats, pangolins, monkeys, antelopes, parrots and even sea turtles and marine mammals. To contribute to the decline of this trend, a project entitled "Support for implementation of the Benin Wildlife Act" (AALF-B - Appui à l’application de la Loi sur la Faune au Bénin) was developed by Nature Tropicale within the EAGLE Network.
The objective of this project is to contribute to the protection of wildlife, especially endangered species in the Republic of Benin and the sub-region, to fight wildlife crime by strengthening the enforcement of wildlife law to deter potential poachers and traffickers.
The AALF-B works very closely with the Government to strengthen the enforcement of wildlife law in Benin. It is structured around four areas corresponding to the four departments of the project: investigations, operations, legal assistance and communication. Emphasis is also given to strengthening the operational capacity of law enforcement agencies (Police, Gendarmes) of Foresters, Coastguard and Magistrates. AALF-B work is based on the methodological approach and the shared experience with EAGLE Network (Eco Activists for Governance and Law Enforcement). This approach is based on the successful experiences of LAGA (Last Great Ape, Cameroon) and support of Conservation Justice (Gabon). In Benin the project started in April 2014 and already lead to seizure of a total of 86 kg of ivory during a ten-day interval, and arrest of more than a dozen dealers.