Elephants, great apes, pangolins and parrots are among the animal species worst affected by trafficking, when considering global impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems. Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo and the Gabon have come together to participate in a programme unveiled by the WWF in 2016 to reduce the illegal trade of wild species.
Africa-TWIX (Trade in Wildlife Information eXchange) is a securised internet platform designed to facilitate data exchange and subregional cooperation between law enforcement authorities in the participating countries. “Inspired by the success of the EU-TWIX model, which was launched in 2005 with the participation of 35 countries, this new tool is tailored to the specific demands of the situation in Africa.” Its key features include a collective database and a mailing list, which facilitate the sharing of vital information and thus increase our capacity to act and react. In parallel, the programme provides specialist training for the platform's users on the ground – from customs officers to forest rangers –, in keeping with the Foundation’s commitment to preserving natural assets through the principles of transmission, skills acquisition and shared tools.
Sixty-eight users have so far received training. They have already shared large volumes of data, entered in real time, which has led to international inquiries into the trafficking of ivory and pangolin scales. In Cameroon, a national workshop has been organised on the illegal air trafficking of wild flora and fauna.
The positive impact of the programme is already starting to be felt, and it is now hoped that it will be extended to other countries in Africa.