Cameroon incinerates 3,510 kg of ivory to demonstrate its commitment to fighting poaching

Senior officials at the Cameroonian Ministry of Forestry and Livestock incinerated, on 19 April 2016 in Yaoundé, the capital of the country, a cargo of 2,000 elephant tusks seized by the Land and Forestry officers during different operations fighting against the illegal sale of protected species. According to official estimates, these tusks represent 3,510 kg of ivory, a material whose prices are more and more attractive on the market.

Through this act, we learned, the Cameroonian government is looking not only to demonstrate its commitment to fighting against poaching activities in the country, but also to respecting the different international agreements which it ratified, in terms of fight against the illegal marketing of protected species under threat of extinction.Among the main endangered species are, with their Cameroonian population reaching 21,000 heads in 2010. This population has considerably diminished nowadays, due in part to the massacres committed by poachers in the Bouba Ndjida national park, in the north of the country, in 2013.Indeed, between January and February that year, over 250 pachyderms were officially killed in this park by poach-ers sometimes coming from neigh-bouring countries. The mobilisation of a special unit from the Camerooni-an army was needed to put an end to these massive killings of elephants on this protected land.

With hundreds of its elephants being killed each year, Cameroon became the latest country to publicly destroy its stockpile of illegal ivory today when 2,000 tusks and 1,753 ivory objects were burned in the capital, Yaounde, in front of the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power.

The surprise decision comes after years of campaigning by WWF and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, for better management of the country’s ivory stocks.
Last year, the two organizations helped the government to retrieve 354 confiscated tusks and ivory objects weighing over 1.2 tonnes from court premises and wildlife services across the country. They were part of the pile that today went up in smoke.

Emmanuel Ngota

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