Two Women Arrested With Gorilla Parts
Two Women Arrested With Gorilla Parts
The duo were apprehended recently in Lomie and Yaounde respectively
Two women have been arrested while in possession of gorilla parts. The first lady was arrested along the Lomie – Yaounde highway with huge quantities of illegal wildlife species including gorilla parts and the second woman was arrested in Yaounde while trying to sell a gorilla skull and other parts. Gorillas are class A animals in Cameroon.
This operation was carried out by the National Control Brigade of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife with the collaboration of the 10th police district in Yaounde while the first operation was done by Officials of the Upper Nyong Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife with the collaboration of the gendarmerie. LAGA, a non-governmental organization provided technical assistance during the operations.
Animals in class A are totally protected and should on no occasion be subjected to whatever kind of hunting and the law protecting animals in Cameroon says in its Section 101 that “Any person found, at any time or place, in possession of a whole or part of a live or dead class A or B protected animal, shall be considered to have captured or killed the animal”. It should be noted that animals in Cameroon are classified according to their risks of extinction and in the case of Class A animals, Order No. 0648/MINFOF of18 December 2006 on the list of animals according to the various classes of protection in its Section 2 stipulates that“Class A comprises rare species or species threatened with extinction. As such, they are totally protected and it is forbidden to kill them”. The agile mangabey (a monkey species) that was found in the possession of the lady arrested close to Mbalmayo on the Lomie – Yaounde highway is a class A animal alongside numerous other species such as the lion, leopards, chimpanzees, gorillas etc.
Wildlife law enforcement officials had been tipped off that a suspicious cargo was being transported by one of the travelling agencies plying the Yaounde - Lomie highway and the lady suspecting that she was walking directly into a trap decided to alight from the bus before her final destination. She had underestimated intelligence the authorities had who pre-empted her move and arrested her before she could have any opportunity of escaping. Contained in numerous sacks she was transporting were diverse protected wildlife species including the agile mangabey, the yellow back duiker, the bush pig etc . All of the animal species she was transporting fall within the three different classes of animals in Cameroon which are Classes A, B and C.
The reason for such arrests is straight forward. Transporting protected wildlife species is against the law and fighting wildlife crime is of vital necessity as some of the animals classified as Class A animals are being seriously threatened with extinction. It is predicted that the great ape may be extinct by the end of this decade, by 2020, if measures to curb the illegal trade in it parts are not fully applied. This explains why the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) is stepping up arrest operations across the country. In a move to strengthen its capacity for this fight and numerous others, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife recently appointed top field officials who are at the centre of the fight. Regional delegates and conservators were appointed to some regional delegations and national parks recently and they shall be expected to carry the wildlife law enforcement process a step ahead. Some of the newly appointed officials are old hands in the domain of fighting wildlife criminality since 2003 when MINFOF took a bold step to experiment an innovative wildlife law enforcement model built on the collaboration between a non governmental organisation and MINFOF. The illegal trade in protected wildlife species in Cameroon has come under close scrutiny over the years from wildlife law enforcement officials since this process began. This has turned up the heat on traffickers of wildlife products and the fight is still ruthlessly going on with the same objective and state of mind as it began some 9 years ago.