A suspected wildlife trafficker was arrested on April 12, 2019 in Meiganga with ivory and pangolin scales he was transporting on board a commercial bus. The man left Bertoua with the illegal products concealed inside a bag and boarded a bus to Ngaoundere but was stopped by customs at a check point some 10 km to Meiganga
Customs requested everyone in the bus to alight and identify their luggage. The owner of one the luggage was very reticent to own up to his luggage and upon verification it was discovered that the 42-year-old man owned the bag. When the bag was ripped open, he declared that the ivory tusks were cow horns in an attempt to trick customs officials but wildlife officials who were part of the team immediately recognized the products as ivory and pangolin scales. He was immediately arrested by the team comprised customs, gendarmes and wildlife officials. At the gendarmerie brigade where he was kept in custody, the contents of the bag revealed he had 24kg of ivory and 12kg of pangolin scales which investigations show he intended to sell in Ngoaundere. He was presented to the state counsel who remanded him in custody. Customs officials would later transfer the case file to wildlife officials who are handling the procedures aimed at ensuring the trafficker is prosecuted according to the law.
A prosecution file has been established against the suspect and an international nongovernmental organization called LAGA technically assisted customs and wildlife officials in the process. This falls within the framework of the protocol agreement recently signed between LAGA and the customs department to assist authorities in the fight against cross border wildlife crime.
The trafficking of wildlife products is considered to be the main cause of decline of wildlife species in the country and on the continent. A report published recently by IUCN says an estimated 110 00 African elephants have been decimated by poaching during the last decade. Another report published last year indicate that between 400 000 to 2.7 million pangolins are poached annually in the Central African forests representing a major increase of 150%. Most of the trafficking is cross border and explains why the customs department in the country is stepping up measures against illegal wildlife trafficking.
According to the wildlife law that governs the sector in Cameroon, anyone found in possession of parts of a totally protected species is liable to a prison term of 1 to 3 years and or a fine of 3 to 10 million CFA F.