LAGA’s collaboration with MINFOF produced tangible results in the fields of investigation, arrest, legal prosecution and media exposure, during the first semester of 2019. The focus was on intensifying wildlife law enforcement operations principally against the trafficking in pangolin scales and ivory while emphasis was equally placed on expanding government collaboration. These activities included relations with the government and international bodies, the signing of a protocol agreement with Customs and the setting up of a committee to oversee the implementation of the agreement, meetings with regional customs officials and follow up of seizures made by customs. The EAGLE network’s Central Coordination Unit (CCU) continued to provide vital technical and organisation support that facilitated several operations resulting in a significant number of arrests. The results of the semester witnessed improvements in both the quality and numbers of those arrested, the first strong indication of the improved standards of the various departments concerned. Trafficking in pangolin scales, ivory and other wildlife contraband was targeted and one major trafficking network stretched over CAR Cameroon and Nigeria was dismantled. Large quantities of ivory and pangolin scales were seized and a baby chimp was rescued in another operation.
22 major traffickers were arrested at a rate of one per 9 days, approximately 91 % stayed behind bars from the day of arrest. Corruption was observed and combated in a number of the cases, including an arrest of a police officer. Accordingly, 22 new cases were brought to the courts. 22 traffickers were found guilty and the courts ordered the payment of damages totalling 154,500,000 F CFA (about $309,000) to MINFOF by the convicted traffickers. Media exposure was at a rate of more than one media piece per day.
The EAGLE network achieved remarkable results as 105 traffickers were arrested across 8 countries. A French super-volunteer was trained in the various departments during a five-week period and he later moved to Ivory Coast for the same purpose.
The Deputy Director held several meetings with wildlife and diplomatic officials in Yaounde and with many other stakeholders within the wildlife law enforcement domain.