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This is the first time that the Republic of Congo has ever destroyed ivory. It follows the recent destruction of ivory in Kenya and Ethiopia. The UAE also crushed around 10 tonnes of ivory today and Malawi plans to destroy its ivory stocks in the near future.

Lamine Sebogo, WWF African Elephant Programme Leader said:

The Republic of Congo's decision to destroy its ivory stockpile sends a positive signal about the government's determination to tackle the elephant poaching crisis and the illegal ivory trade, but it needs to be backed up with additional anti-poaching efforts, a stronger judicial process to end impunity for wildlife criminals, and enhanced local stewardship of natural resources.

"The Congolese authorities should have conducted a rigorous and independent audit of the ivory before destroying it to demonstrate the integrity of the exercise, as there are persistent concerns that ivory burns can act as a means of allowing some of the ivory in question to leak back into the black market.

"We support the recent call by Botswana for all countries to carry out a full audit of their ivory stockpiles, and to provide the information to CITES. But a once-off audit is not enough since stockpiles grow over time: so all countries, even those that have destroyed their current stockpile such as the Republic of Congo, should put in place transparent and accountable stock management measures in order to manage future stocks that will inevitably arise."

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Editor's notes

For more information please contact:
Emma Roberts, Media Relations Officer, WWF-UK
e: eroberts@wwf.org.uk M: 07771 818 682

WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organisations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through our engagement with the public, businesses and government, we focus on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive. Find out more about our work, past and present at wwf.org.uk
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