1st Semester Report 2017

Despite many obstacles, tangible achievements were made over this period in LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF in the fields of investigation, arrest, prosecution, media exposure, government relations and international activities with focus on the fight against corruption, illegal wildlife trade, principally traffickers in ivory, leopard skins and pangolin scales. The team stepped up its professionalism following new instructions, recommendations and proposals during in house meetings and the results were forthcoming with important pangolin scales and ivory operations carried out with high levels of expertise. Trafficking in leopard skins and others including lion, zebra and crocodile skins was targeted within this period as a new dangerous trend was established - skin traffickers have improved their professionalism and organisation. An operation against live chimp traffickers attracted a lot of attention and hard work but was hugely rewarded with the rescue of two adult female chimps.

15 major traffickers were arrested, at a rate of one for every 12 days, approximately. 73 % stayed behind bars from the day of arrest. Corruption was observed and combated in a number of the cases. 15 new cases were brought to the courts and 19 traffickers were found guilty and given prison sentences, fines, damages and penalties and with two traffickers given the maximum penalty of 3 years and in another matter a trafficker was ordered to pay damages totalling 107, 559, 000 F CFA (about $215,120) to MINFOF. Media exposure was at a rate of approximately one media piece per day.

The EAGLE network achieved remarkable results as 217 traffickers were arrested across 9 countries within the network during this semester. The LAGA team hosted activists from other countries for an intense training program including legal advisers from Guinea and Madagascar and the Assistant Coordinator from SALF. The Deputy Director and the Interim Director travelled to Ivory Coast for coordination assistance to the new replication project. Several meetings were held by the Director and Deputy Director with government and diplomatic officials in Yaoundé and with many other stakeholders within the wildlife law enforcement domain.