A trafficker arrested in Nkoteng

CAMEROUN :: A trafficker arrested in Nkoteng :: CAMEROON

A trafficker has been arrested with giant pangolin scales and a baboon in Nkoteng in the Upper Sanaga Division. He was arrested during a crackdown operation carried out by wildlife officials of the Upper Sanaga Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, in collaboration with the Gendarmerie.

He was found with 86kg of giant pangolin scales during the arrest as he attempted to sell the illegal wildlife product. The scales were found to be from giant pangolins, a very rare event because during operations, scales seizures often include scales from all three species of pangolins that the country hosts. This time all the scales were from the very rare and elusive giant pangolins that is more threatened with extinction than the two other species – the white-bellied and black-bellied pangolins.

A house search that followed after his arrest led to the rescue of a juvenile baboon at the trafficker’s home. The baboon was found tied to a tree with a cord round her waist at the premises of the trafficker.A wildlife support body, the Last Great Ape Organisation, also known as LAGA, technically assisted the operation.

According to preliminary investigations, the trafficker belongs to a syndicate of wildlife traffickers specialised in the illicit trade of protected species and their parts such as elephant ivory, pangolin scales and baboons. He mostly carried outthe illegal activities in Yoko, a small town in the Center Region where he activateda range of smaller traffickers from who he collected the scales. He is presently behind bars at the gendarmerie brigade of Nanga Eboko.

His trial shall soon be starting and it is expected that he shall stay behind bars as the prosecution proceeds.The Upper Sanaga Divisional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife,Marie JosyAkono, nevertheless, believes that would be the case and concerning the wellbeing of the animal she declared that “the baby baboon will bequarantined at the Mvogbetsi botanical & zoological park andif it turns out that the measures and parameters taken on the baboon are good health wise, it could bereintroduced in an area very close to its natural habitat”.

Pangolins and baboons have varying status of protection under the 1994 wildlife law. However, considering the tender age of the baboon, both species in this case have a totally protectedstatus which implies that any possession or trade in them is prohibited.

Marie Josy Akono is thus calling on the population of Upper Sanaga to refrain from trading in protected wildlife species for prison awaits anyone who does and justice shall take its course.

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