12 November 2012

Cameroon: Traditional Ruler Hands Baboon to Authorities

The traditional ruler of Nsem in Bafut Subdivision in the North West Region, His Royal Highness Chief Mbonifor I, handed over a live baboon to wildlife officials of the North West Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife.

He had been keeping the baboon because of his love for animals and when he got information that the law prohibits the possession of protected species; he immediately invited the wildlife officials to come and take the animal.

The baboon is now receiving care from specialists at the Limbe Wildlife Centre that participated in the rescue operation with technical assistance during the operation from Last Great Ape Organisation - LAGA.

On how he came to keeping a live baboon, the traditional ruler said that someone who had travelled all the way from the East Region brought the young baboon, for him to buy and since then the baboon had been living with him. He further revealed his love for animals "First of all, I have love for animals and nature in general. I am passionate about animals and that is why I bought the baboon". Chief Mbonifor called on all those who are illegally keeping animals to be aware that the law does not pardon such illegality and ignorance is no excuse. He said ignorance was the main reason why he had kept the baboon for so long and when one day he was listening to the radio, he heard that keeping protected wildlife species was against the law, he immediately contacted wildlife officials who arranged for the transfer of the animal to the Limbe Wildlife Centre, where he has I promised to visit the animal while in Limbe and then in Yaounde.

The centre is going to take charge of the animal for the next 3 months under the control of Dr. Kiyang John who works with the Pandrillus Foundation at the Limbe Wildlife Centre. The baboon called Amigo would then be transferred to the Mvogbetsi Zoological gardens.

This same gesture of handing over a protected wildlife species had been carried out before by an important personality. Achidi Achu, former Prime Minister and coincidentally a classmate of Chief Mbonifor in Bali in the fifties, handed over a live chimpanzee to wildlife officials of the North West Region in 2006. These gestures are clear examples of the importance of understanding and respecting the law. It is expected that after such exemplary behavior from some important personalities, others who have protected species in their keeping would come out and hand them over to the appropriate authorities who are the ones competent to cater for such animals.

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