LIBREVILLE, Gabon, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Authorities in Gabon say they have seized a massive cache of ape parts and leopard skins in an ongoing campaign against illegal poaching and trafficking.
Law enforcement officials in the central African country say five men have been arrested on charges of illegally possessing animal products including those of endangered species, a World Wildlife Fund release said Thursday.
The raids, conducted by the country's Water and Forest and Defense ministries, confiscated the head and hands of an endangered gorilla, along with 12 chimpanzee heads and 30 chimpanzee hands.
The skins of 12 leopards, a portion of lion skin, snake skins and five elephant tails were also discovered.
"The problem of illegal wildlife poaching and trade is not specific to Gabon; such specialized dealers exist throughout Western and Central Africa," Luc Mathot, founder of Conservation Justice, said.
"But these arrests demonstrate that stopping them is possible with effective law enforcement."