Elements of the Cameroon General Directorate of Customs have seized a large quantity of elephant tusks in Ambam, situated in the Ntem Valley division of the South region.
The 118 tusks weighed a total of 626 kilogrammes and are reported to be the largest seizure of ivory ever made in the area which is on the border with Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
The 118 elephant tusks, equivalent to 59 elephants killed, were seized from a trafficker travelling from Gabon and were hidden among other merchandise carried in a truck.
The trafficker was arrested by customs officials and eventually transferred to the gendarmerie brigade for further investigations.
An official of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife described the seizure as a big victory against poaching and ivory trade.
It is necessary to recall here that traffic in protected species has been on the rise these days around the frontiers with Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
In May this year, three elephant tusk traffickers were apprehended during a sting operation carried out by agents of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in the Littoral region.
Some months later, in September 2020, another trafficker, this time in pangolin scales, was arrested by eco-guards in Mvila in the South region. And recently, Forestry and Wildlife Ministry officials arrested an individual reputed to be a trader in parrots who was found in possession of three of the birds.
“The problem with these arrests has always been the lack of information as to the end of the arrest process. We are always told of arrests with fanfare but never told what happens eventually with the traffickers.
“It is an open secret here that most of these arrested wildlife traffickers always end up negotiating their way out of the hands of officials after bribing those handling the cases”, revealed an animal rights activist in Yaounde who elected for anonymity.