Saving Gabon’s Unique Wildlife

Government has vowed to find and punish those responsible for the disappearance of more than 350 containers of protected hardwood worth nearly $250m. In late February and early March, the authorities uncovered and seized 392 containers with 5,000 cubic metres of illegally felled kevazingo wood in the port of Owendo. By the end of April, 353 of those containers had disappeared. Forestry is a major industry for the central African country, almost 80 percent of which is carpeted in rainforest. But the rare kevazingo tree, which can take 500 years to grow to its full height of 40m (130 feet), is protected by law. Demand in Asia for kevazingo remains high despite the ban in Gabon. The kevazingo in the stolen containers would have a market value of at least $241m.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA | REUTERS AFRICA

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