The Head of State, Paul Biya, has ordered the destruction of 2,000 elephant tusks and more than 1,753 art objects made of ivory seized from traffickers. The insineration exercise will take place today April 18, 2016, at the entrance to the Yaounde Conference Centre. The special guest at the ceremony will be the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. She arrived Cameroon yesterday April 17 for a two-day visit that will take her to the North Region.
The operation is the first in a series to continue, notes a statement from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. The move is in respect to of the Convention on Illegal Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna, CITES, and the ratification of various global and sub-regional agreements. Forestry and Wildlife Minister, Ngole Philip Ngwese, stressed that; "We shall continue combating organised poaching in concert with neighbouring countries and our partners." He stated that by ordering that elephant tusks be burnt, the President of the Republic seeks to ensure that efforts are not frustrated and that seized ivory does not find its way to the black market.
In 2010, the elephant population in Cameroon was estimated at 21,000 heads (National Strategy for Elephant Management, 10-year duration). The rise of poachin, especially the mass slaughter of 2012 in the Bouba Ndjida National Park in north Cameroo, reduced the elephant population considerably. This notwithstanding, anti-poaching efforts led to the seizure of a stock of 3,510.2 kg of raw ivory (2,000 tusks) and 267.8 kg of ivory objects (1,753 pieces).
The incident in 2012 gave rise to reinforced security measures that stemmed from the deployment of defence forces to the Bouba Ndjida area to the scaling up of the staff strength of wildlife guards and the purchase of light aircraft for air surveillance in protected areas.