Two people have been aTwo people arrested with 70kg of pangolin scalesested for pangolin scales trafficking in Mbalmayo in the Center Region. They were arrested during a crackdown operation carried out by wildlife officials of the Nyong and So'o Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife in collaboration with the Gendarmerie Company of Mbalmayo.
The two suspected traffickers were caught some few meters away from a mixed checkpoint made up of Gendarmes, Polices, and wildlife agents, situated along the Mbalmayo-Sangmelima road at a popularly place known as "Carrefour Sangmelima". They were arrested with two bags of pangolin scales weighing about 70kg representing up to 350 slaughtered pangolins, at the home of one of the suspects.
LAGA, a wildlife law enforcement support body technically assisted officials during the operation.
According to sources close to the case who requested for anonymity, the two suspects are alleged wildlife traffickers specialized in the sale of pangolin scales. One's role is to move and buy pangolin scales in small villages around Mengeme including, Mengong, Meyo, and Mete. While, the other sells the scales especially to customers coming in from big cities like Yaoundé and Ebolowa. The trade in pangolin scales goes on in the country in spite of the activity totally forbidden by national and international legislations.
Well noted of this law is the 1994 wildlife law of the country which states that anyone found in possession of parts of a protected wildlife species is considered to have killed the animal and is liable to a prison term of up to 3 years and/or pay a fine of up to 10 million CFA francs.
In spite of the law and the danger that trafficking in pangolins can represent as well for this species as for human, this activity does not cease to prevail. The pangolin is not only critically endangered as classified by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), but the dealing in wildlife species is dangerous to humans. The Covid-19 pandemic which has been ravaging lives in the whole wide world since 2019 is a clear example which has compelled, several international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) on April 2021, to call for the suspension of the sale of live wild mammals on food markets worldwide. The arrest and prosecution of pangolin scales traffickers is therefore expected to play a deterrent role in pangolin scales trafficking.