18 December 2013

Cameroon: Waza Park Official Arrested for Wildlife Trafficking

Wildlife officials of the Far North Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife have arrested an ecoguard who works at the Waza National Park for illegal possession in parts of protected wildlife species.

The ecoguard was arrested while trying to sell elephant parts and other wildlife products including parts of a giraffe to a client in Maroua in the Far North Region. The operation was carried out with the collaboration of the Forces of Law and Order and with the technical assistance of a wildlife law enforcement organization called LAGA. Experts say the operation against a wildlife official is a welcome initiative and demonstrates Cameroon government's political will in fighting and uprooting complicity and corruption in the wildlife sector.

Many see this as a commendable and timely effort from wildlife officials who acted promptly especially as it comes 24 hours after the President of the Republic, Paul Biya highlighted some of the efforts Cameroon is making to stem the illegal trade and poaching of wildlife species in the country. The President of the Republic, who presided over a round table conference held in Paris this week, with the participation of several heads of states, announced many measures the country has been using in the fight against poaching and wildlife crimes.

Notable among the measures was the shutting down of the illegal trade in ivory and other wildlife products, demonstration the importance of wildlife law enforcement in the country. This is also clear proof at the highest level of Cameroon's engagement in fighting wildlife crime and as a Ugandan wildlife law enforcement officer Karl Edison Karaguba, who is presently in Cameroon says, it is worthy of emulation by other countries.

"I am very impressed with the wildlife law enforcement process here and with the arrest of a park official, Cameroon is showing the way forward and this in an indication of what countries should be doing in order to stem the illegal trade that is decimating wildlife species on our continent. We need strong action from officials otherwise we may be bidding farewell to wildlife in Africa."


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