Save the Elephants
Two suspected ivory traffickers were arrested in the Bastos district of
Yaounde on October 9 by Forest and Wildlife agents who were supported by a
team of police officers.
The two traffickers who arrived in a taxi stopped at a bar at a place
called “Carrefour Bastos” in Yaounde. One of them entered the bar, and
spent a few minutes before coming out. He then got into the cab and took a
plastic bag which he held carefully, then rushed straight into the bar
while it was raining.
While he was walking to the bar, he was followed by agents who arrested him
inside the bar, while the second man, who was waiting impatiently in the
taxi, was also apprehended.
Two tusks of ivory were found in the plastic bag. The two traffickers were
then taken to the police station of the 10th district of the city of
Yaound? where their interrogation was started immediately.
The operation was carried out by the regional delegation of Forests and
Wildlife of the Central Region with the technical assistance of a wildlife
law enforcement organization called Laga.
According to sources close to the case, speaking anonymously, one of the
traffickers, aged 45, had been hunted for nearly six months for his
involvement in the illegal ivory trade.
He is suspected of leading a group of poachers who supply him with raw
ivory, while he deals directly with Chinese traffickers.
Shortly before his arrest, he had gone to Bafia, a hundred kilometers west
of Yaounde where he would have gone to get supplies of wildlife products.
Wildlife law enforcement experts explain that this precautionary measure is
a mark and a sign of his professionalism and expertise in the profession.
The traffickers are currently behind bars and should be held responsible
for the illegal possession, trafficking and marketing of trophies of a
protected wildlife species, in accordance with the 1994 Wildlife Act. The
law states that they face up to three years’ imprisonment and / or a fine
of up to 10 million CFA francs.
The illegal trade in ivory is considered the main factor in the
disappearance of elephants in Cameroon and the Ministry of Forests and
Wildlife has made enormous efforts in wildlife law enforcement. This is
considered the most urgent conservation measure to hinder the free movement
of ivory in illegal markets.
As a sign of determination to eradicate the illegal ivory trade, the
government has been working with partners such as Laga for more than a
decade to effectively enforce laws. In addition to the law enforcement,
last year nearly 3.5 tons of ivory were destroyed by the government to
indicate its determination to fight against this trade until the end.