Forensic Technology Helps Case Against West African Ivory Dealer Accused as a Trafficker
DNA and radioisotope analysis help close ivory smuggling's favorite loophole.
Prosecutors in the tiny West African country of Togo employed some of the world's most advanced forensic technology in making their case against ivory shop owner Edouodji Emile N'Bouke.
N'Bouke, 64, had operated Rose Ivoire in downtown Lomé since the 1970s. But in August 2013, investigators raided his store and home, seizing 1,540 pounds of ivory and charging him with violating Togo's environmental and forestry laws, including a 2008 statute that prosecutors say bans all ivory trade in Togo.
In a fiery hearing that packed the capital courthouse and echoed from loudspeakers onto the street last week, N'Bouke rejected charges that he was an illegal ivory trafficker.
His ivory, he said, had come almost exclusively from Chad, with whose former president he said