Cameroon: Pangolin scales traffickers to appear to court

2 October 2020

Pangolin scales traffickers shall appear in the Court of First Instance of Ebolowa and the Bertoua Appeal Court on October 6, 2020.

The court case that will be heard in Ebolowa Court of First Instance is against a man who was arrested in Ebolowa with 23kg of pangolin scales, during an operation carried out by wildlife officials of the Mvila Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife in collaboration with the police. The operation was also carried out with the technical assistance of LAGA, a non-governmental organization specialized in wildlife law enforcement. The case will be heard for the second time after the first hearing was adjourned by the judge on September 1 for presentation of evidence and arguments.

Meanwhile, the case that will be heard on the same day in the Appeal Court of Bertoua is against five people who were arrested in Abong-Mbang with 31 kg of pangolin scales. They were arrested by wildlife officials of the Upper Nyong Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife during their attempts to sell the scales. The operation was carried out in collaboration with the Abong-Mbang Police and with the technical assistance of the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA).The cases fall within the framework of the wildlife law enforcement program launched in 2003 by the government of Cameroon. The program aims at effectively enforcing the 1994 wildlife law by tracking and bringing to justice, offenders of the law. This law governs the wildlife sector in the country and gives a maximum 3-year prison term and or a fine up to 10 million CFA francs to anyone found guilty of breaking it.

The law is aimed at protecting wildlife species from extinction which is becoming, as days go by, a serious problem for the country. Several people still find it difficult to understand that there is a law that strictly applied and there are dangers posed by zoonosis, that is the transmission of diseases from animals to man with the spread of the coronavirus a very close reminder. Pangolin scale traffickers must therefore be the subject of exemplary sanctions, in order to alert public opinion to the dangers posed by the illegal trade.

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