May 12, 2018

CAMEROON: Four people have been arrested in the Santchou in the West Region
for trafficking in pangolin scales, turtle shells, ivory and other elephant

It took the combined efforts of the Santchou wildlife reserve, the Penka
Michal and Nkong-Ni forestry and wildlife control posts in the Menoua
Division and Gendarmerie research brigade in Dschang to mount a successful
operation that saw the four who were just about to get business moving

The four who had been charged with illegal possession of parts of protected
wildlife species and the killing of these species are still behind bars.

They had each arrived the scene on motorbikes and one of them the lady,
brought the ivory as they went in business negotiations.

The products they were about to be trafficked were found in bags which were
visibly placed in front of them. The operation was carried out with the
technical assistance of a wildlife law enforcement support body, LAGA.

According to some members of the operation team who requested to speak on
condition of anonymity, they each had specific wildlife products.

They had contacts right up to Douala where investigations into their
illegal activity first started and the group was very professional in their
dealings according to the sources.

One of them was always on the alert and when gendarmes and wildlife
officials closed in on them, he took off, attempting to escape but was
immediately stopped in his tracks.

He had been under investigations by the conservator of the Santchou
wildlife sanctuary and knew he could arrested anytime.

Prior investigations had found out that the products were hidden in their
respective homes and a house search that followed immediately their arrest
drew some crowd and the three were immediately returned to the gendarmerie

The Santchou reserve which is close to where the traffickers were arrested
has been stripped almost all of its wildlife. The reserve that was once
blossoming with elephants, buffaloes and many other wildlife species is
just a shadow of what it used to be because the animals have been killed by
poachers to supply the illegal market.

This has emptied the reserve and the problem has been compounded by the
activities of the riverine population who have encroached into the reserve.

Farmland and houses have been erected into the protected area, jeopardizing
the chances of its revival, although over the years, government has been
saying it could be revived.

This news service is provided by Save the Elephants.