CAMEROUN :: Cameroon: Two mandrills rescued in Ambam
A man was arrested in Ambam for unlawful possession of two mandrills which he had kept in a cage at his residence. The arrest was carried out by wildlife officials of the Ntem Valley Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife with the collaboration of the gendarmerie. The mandrills were found in a poor state and held in uncomfortable cages. A wildlife law enforcement support body called LAGA provided technical assistance during the operation.
The 46-year-old man who is believed to be a businessman and manager of a local hotel was planning to sell the mandrills before he was stopped short following his arrest. Prior investigations have proven that he had a female mandrill in his keeping and recently added a male to the female. When the team arrived the home of the suspect, they found his wife who indicated where the husband was and he was informed of the reasons why the team was around. He was then apprehended and taken to the gendarmerie brigade where legal proceedings were carried out.
According to sources close to the matter that requested anonymity, the suspect who was just about to be crowned a quarter head in the town was paradoxically given assurances by one eco-guard who told him that keeping the animal was not a problem. This bolstered him and he intended to keep the two mandrills so that he could get them copulate and reproduce more mandrills so that he could start a mandrill business. He seemed to know many people within the locality as he used to freely go around with the mandrill tied to rope and this unusual behaviour went unattended to until he was arrested. The mandrills have been transported to the Mefou Ape Sanctuary for treatment and lifetime support.
Mandrills are seriously poached for bushmeat and are totally protected by the wildlife law. They are listed in class A and considered to be the highest class of protection provided by the law. Mandrillsaren’t afraid to come close to human increasing their risk of gettingkilled.They resemble baboons but have very colourful faces and exist principally in the southern parts of the country. They live mainly in rainforests in groups that may range from a few dozens tohundreds. Mandrills feed generally on fruits, tree backs and insects but have been found to consume eggs, young ones of other monkey species and can hunt young antelopes for food also. Strong measures need to be taken to enable the beautiful species to continue to survive in the wild and these measures should target areas like Ambam where primate trafficking is recurrent.
Last January, a chimpanzee was rescued in the same townby the wildlife officials who are bent onimpeding illegal trafficking in primates which seem to be on the rise. Ambam is considered to be a hotspot for trafficking in the country and the authorities need to work very hard and collaboratively to be able to tackle the growing problems of traffickingin the town and its environs.