Tangible achievements and results were obtained during LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF in the fields of investigation, arrest, prosecution and media exposure, during the first semester of 2018. The focus was on the fight against corruption, illegal wildlife trade, principally trafficking in pangolin scales, ivory and primates. These activities also included relations with the government and international bodies. The team continued efforts started during the first semester to improve on its professionalism following new guidelines, recommendations and proposals during in house meetings and from working with the EAGLE’s Central Coordination Unit (CCU). The results improved in many areas although some departments did not fully attain their set targets. Trafficking in pangolin scales, ivory and other wildlife contraband was targeted and it was observed to have attained a peak level and remained constant. A baby chimp and two mandrills were seized from traffickers.
18 major traffickers were arrested, at a rate of one per 10 days, approximately 89 % stayed behind bars from the day of arrest. Corruption was observed and combated in a number of the cases. 18 new cases were brought to the courts and 16 traffickers were found guilty. The court ordered the payment of damages totalling 47,662 000 F CFA (about $95 124) to MINFOF by the convicted traffickers. Media exposure was at a rate of one media piece per day.
The EAGLE network achieved remarkable results as 104 traffickers were arrested across 9 countries. The LAGA team hosted a legal adviser from Senegal and another from Cote d’Ivoire for a training and experience sharing visit. The deputy director travelled to Ethiopia where he participated in a GIS workshop to combat wildlife trafficking while the head of the investigation department travelled to train investigators at EAGLE Togo.
The director arrived the country for a week-long visit during which he held several meetings with the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife and diplomatic officials in Yaounde and with many other stakeholders within the wildlife law enforcement domain. He was accompanied by the deputy director during most of the meetings.
The work of LAGA was supported by: Wildcat, US Fish and Wildlife Service - EAGLE, AVAAZ, Neu Foundation, Mat Wijnen, NABU International Foundation for Nature, The Born Free Foundation, Joe Franklin Charitable Trust and The Wild Cat Foundation.