Cameroon: Three Traffickers Arrested in Ebolowa  (Cameroon)


Cameroon Link

Date Published

These wildlife traffickers were arrested March 16, 2016, following a punch operation by the regional delegation of forests and wildlife of the southern region, in collaboration with the mounted police of the city.

The three men, aged between 24 and 26, were arrested while attempting to sell wildlife products consisting of several skulls of great apes, gorillas, and chimpanzees freshly killed. On one of them, recognized as the largest trafficker of ivory, weighed suspicions for a long time. Preliminary investigations indicated that the latter possessed several weapons that he used to kill elephants. It is on the basis of this illicit trade in ivory that investigations have been conducted. In addition to ivory, eight skulls from chimpanzees and four skulls of gorillas were found in possession of the three traffickers arrested with technical assistance from an NGO called The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA).

According to sources close to the investigation, in the period leading to the arrest of the three suspects, one of them had boasted of killing gorillas and chimpanzees for food. He did the same during his hunting expeditions, which explains why he had a good number of chimpanzee heads for sale. This situation reveals another facet of the traffic of ivory.

Wildlife Act, 1994

Other protected wildlife species become victims when poachers go far in the forest for days to kill elephants. Then, they simply kill other wildlife for food purposes. In an effort shown to stem the illegal trade of wildlife species, the Cameroon Ministry of Forests and Fauna has signed an agreement with the Last Great Ape Organization, whose primary objective is to track down for the purposes of prosecution, offenders in accordance with the Wildlife Act, adopted in 1994.

Since 2003, this collaboration has led to several large-scale arrests, with big international traffickers arrested and given prison sentences ranging up to three years as a maximum period of imprisonment. And according to the law, “any person found in possession of a part of a protected wildlife species is considered to have done the killing.” The conservation of the great apes of Cameroon is one of the main functions of the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife, and an application of the Wildlife Act, in part.