Summary of the book
Cameroon’s Wildlife Legislation and Procedures -
Law Enforcement and Fight Against Corruption in the Wildlife Sector
Context and justification
Illegal hunting and related illegal trade are the most immediate threats to many wildlife populations in Cameroon. Although national laws prohibit the killing of these animals, the enforcement of the laws has historically been very weak and provided no deterrent value. Consequently the hunting of flagship species such as great apes and elephants and the trade in their meat, body parts including ivory and live young has been conducted quite freely.
One of the reasons for the ineffective implementation of laws governing the wildlife sector is the lack or very bad knowledge by law enforcement actors of those laws and legal procedures to be followed in wildlife matters notably during arrests, seizures of illegal products/materials, prosecutions, trials, condemnations according to the law and effective execution of court decisions against wildlife criminals. To that end, wildlife Officers need an appropriate handbook that they can always consult whenever necessary and which describes and explains all the administrative and legal procedures to follow once a wildlife dealer is arrested. It is also important for other actors involved in the process such as forces of law and order, administrative and judicial authorities to be sensitized on the national conservation policy developed by Cameroon as well as the national legislation and international conventions related to wildlife protection that the government has signed and ratified. Magistrates and auxiliaries of the justice (lawyers, bailiffs and other legal experts) will be able to know more about the specificities of those laws and it will therefore help in solving most of the misunderstandings arising from the implementation of wildlife law. This is a critical aspect that can efficiently support law enforcement process and lead to the decrease of the negative pressure on wildlife. Finally, since corruption has been identified as the major obstacle to the effective law enforcement, a better understanding of laws and procedures will also help in reducing corruption practices/attempts and other irregularities in the field as well as in court; the targeted officials need to know what is provided by the penal law on corruption and related offences and what is the national strategy and institutions put in place to fight this problem.