Yaboa Ndula Munteh, Cameroon Tribune, 4 June 2013
A recent study has indicated that 62 per cent of forest elephants in the Central African Sub-Region have been massacred by poachers using sophisticated weapons since 2002.
In Cameroon, thousands of forest elephants are said to be slaughtered in South-East Cameroon as well as the 2012 attack at the Bouba Ndjida National Park where scores of elephants were massacre by poachers from Sudan. The persistence of such mass massacre of the protected elephant species has paved the way for extinction. Reason why the European Union, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (UICN) unanimously said during a press conference in Yaounde on May 30, that the protection of Cameroon elephants from extinction will yield fruits if the Head of State, President Paul Biya is at the helm.
To wage the anti poaching war and emerge victorious, a team of resource persons from the above organisations urged the government to reinforce the law against poaching which stipulates a jail term of one to three years and a fine of three to 10 million for killing a protected species like elephant. They argued that the creation of a National Coordination Union with actors like the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Defense Ministry, customs, Interpol, agents of the national parks among other actors will better fight the scorch.
The seizure and destruction of ivory (though a kilogramme is sold at 200 US dollars) and zero tolerance towards corruption they say, will curb poaching. The reinforcement of cross boarder collaboration and dialogue with legal ivory trading countries like China and Thailand on the consequences of elephant extinction in the sub-region will be of help. Since ivory is transported to the airports and seaports by land, Bas Huijbregts of WWF said they go through numerous check points and police posts but no ivory tusk is confiscated. Thus, there is the complicity of some government officials who facilitate the transportation of elephant tusks out of the country.
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