Police in Guinea have arrested an army colonel on suspicion of animal trafficking and seized a menagerie of animals from two properties he owns that they described as private zoos, a senior officer said on Saturday.
Chimpanzees, a baboon, ostriches from Mali and turtles that inhabit the edge of the Sahara were among the 33 animals and 12 species found during police raids, said Charlotte Houpline of the WARA Conservation Project which worked on the investigation.
“He was the owner of the animals and planned to sell them. He will be charged with animal trafficking,” Gadiri Conde, a divisional police commissioner, told reporters.
A senior police source named the man, arrested in the capital Conakry on Wednesday, as Colonel Ibrahima Bangoura.
WARA, a French charity based in Guinea and Senegal, began investigating Bangoura in 2013, suspecting him of being part of a network that trades protected species on the international market, Houpline said.