Tangible achievements were made in LAGA’s collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, despite several 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 a focus on the fight against corruption and the illegal wildlife trade, principally trafficking in ivory. The team strengthened its procedures for greater efficiency and effectivity in order to maximise the use of financial and human resources. Trafficking in ivory tusks was mainly targeted with some results reinforcing the idea that the illegal trade in ivory continues to be a major illegal activity and a threat to the survival of the elephant in the region. Five traffickers including the son of a former finance minister were arrested for ivory trafficking in Yaounde and two members of an international network of ivory traffickers between the Central African Republic and Cameroon were arrested at the border town of Kenzou. Several difficulties encountered during the semester hampered the attainment of very good results and strategic meetings were held to resolve the issues for results to get to levels previously attained and even higher, next year.
10 major traffickers were arrested and 50% stayed behind bars from the day of arrest and 50% were released on bail as the trials started. Corruption was observed and combated in two cases. 10 new cases were brought to the courts while 10 traffickers were found guilty and damage’ totaling 45,711,000 FCFA (about $91,522) was ordered to be paid to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) by the convicts. Media exposure was at a rate of almost one media piece per day.
During this semester, 63 traffickers were arrested across 7 countries of the EAGLE network. LAGA continued to provide technical assistance to some of the EAGLE projects during investigations, operations, and media outreach.
Several meetings were held with government and diplomatic officials in Yaoundé and with many other stakeholders within the wildlife law enforcement domain.