In the DRC, an interministerial decree authorizes the slaughter or sale of certain species protected against a tax. Environmentalists are mobilized and denouncing this decision.
The Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) considers that this decree represents a setback for the country. To do this, they call for the annulment of this government decision, which they accuse of promoting poaching in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and of compromising their efforts to protect endangered species.
Indeed, in a joint decision taken last year, the Congolese environment and finance ministers authorized the slaughter, possession and sale of protected species in the DRC against payment of a tax, thus liberalizing the poaching in the country.
This measure outraged Cosma Wilungula, Director General of the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN), who held a press conference to demand the annulment of this decree signed a year ago but which ICCN only became aware of last month. According to the Minister of the Environment at the time, the measure had been taken to bail out the state coffers. What shocks environmental associations and ecologists.
Cosma Wilungula believes that with this revenue maximization measure, ICCN can no longer do the work of conserving endangered species. According to him, this ministerial judgment undermines the efforts of the government which is fighting to comply with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
“Today, the ICCN cannot arrest a person for illegal possession of ivory or okapi skins, there is no more illegal trafficking of protected species” in the DRC, lamented Cosma Wilungula.
“The 32 million US dollars spent each year on conservation has no reason to be released by donors to be used for the protection of protected areas and endangered species,” he added.
According to this decree, it is now legally authorized to capture, kill or hunt animal species, totally or partially protected, thanks to a permit obtained from the Directorate of Nature Conservation.
It is therefore now possible to kill a forest elephant, as long as you pay $ 2,885 to the state or detain it for $ 1,860. Likewise, capturing a mountain gorilla will cost $ 1,545, and killing, eating or selling it in 1925.
The director-general of ICCN, who is trying to use all his weight to have this ministerial decree annulled, shows that such regulations encourage poaching, while on the local market, a kilo of ivory sells for $ 600, a baby gorilla sells for $ 100,000, okapi or leopard skin for $ 40,000.
According to Radio France Internationale RFI, citing the cabinet of Eve Bazaiba, current Deputy Prime Minister in charge of sustainable development, a team of experts has been set up to analyze the text.