Tangible achievements were made in LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF, despite the several old as well as new challenges and obstacles encountered during this period. Achievements were obtained 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 trafficking in pangolin scales and ivory. The team focused on maximizing resources towards greater financial and technical efficiency with the implementation of new guidelines on carrying out activities in the various departments. Efforts to improve on professionalism following these guidelines, recommendations and proposals made during in house meetings and from working with the EAGLE’s Central Coordination Unit (CCU) were carried out. 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.
36 major traffickers were arrested, at a rate of one per 10 days; approximately 73 % stayed behind bars from the day of arrest. Corruption was observed and combated in a number of the cases. 36 new cases were brought to the courts and 45 traffickers were found guilty. The court ordered the payment of damages totaling 321,095,000 F CFA (about $642,190) to MINFOF by the convicted traffickers. Media exposure was at a rate of one media piece per day.
The EAGLE network obtained good results as 182 traffickers were arrested across the 9 countries within the network. Exchange visits continued among the countries specifically with the Head of the Investigation Department visiting EAGLE Togo while two legal advisers from EAGLE Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal arriving the country. Technical support was given during investigations, operations and media outreach to some of the projects across the network and the coordinator of the new project in Burkina Faso was retrained in LAGA.
Several meetings were held by the Director and Deputy Director with government and diplomatic officials in Yaounde and with many other stakeholders within the wildlife law enforcement domain.
The work of LAGA was supported by: US Fish and Wildlife Service, AVAAZ, Neu Foundation, NABU International Foundation for Nature, Joe Franklin Charitable Trust, The Wild Cat Foundation, Pro Wildlife, The Born Free Foundation and The Rufford Foundation.