WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT: Cameroon Government boosts protection of elephants, pangolins

Posted on
27 October 2020
Elephants and pangolins are henceforth totally protected in Cameroon following a decision by the country’s Ministry of Forests and Wildlife (MINFOF) that has placed all categories of both species in Class A.

The decision is contained in a ministerial arreté N°0056/MINFOF of 01 April 2020, fixing the modalities for the classification of wildlife species in the country.

In an earlier classification, only elephants with tusks weighing less than 5kg were fully protected alongside the giant pangolin. The small pangolin that was formerly a Class B specie moves to Class A for total protection as well.

The Cameroon government is taking steps to boost the protection of elephants and pangolins at a time these species face grave threat from poaching for their tusks and scales respectively.

A WWF survey 2015 wildlife survey revealed that protected areas in the southeast of Cameroon have lost over 60 percent of their elephant population in less than a decade. Within the last two years, hundreds of kilograms of pangolin scales have been seized at Douala International Airport being smuggled out of the country by traffickers.
Alongside elephants and pangolins, several species of monkeys including the Agile Mangabey and Hoest monkeys have also been fully protected.

Meanwhile, the highly threatened African Grey Parrot has moved from Class B protected bird to Class A. The African Grey Parrot is a key target in Cameroon for poachers and traffickers for commerce for medicinal purposes.

The MINFOF decision comes 14 years after the last classification was made in 2006. In all, 43 wildlife (including aquatic) species were placed in Class A alongside 59 bird and 17 reptile species.

Salutary move
In Cameroon, wildlife species are distributed into three categories; Class A, B and C, with Class A for total protection, B for partial and C for less protection.

 “WWF welcomes government move to boost the protection of these highly threatened wildlife species. This salutary measure must be followed up by concrete action on the ground to send a clear deterrent message to those decimating the country’s endangered wildlife,” states Clotilde Ngomba, WWF Cameroon Director.

According to Cameroon’s Wildlife Law, anyone found at any time or anywhere in possession of a whole or part of a live or dead protected wildlife species is considered to have captured or killed it. The defaulter will be punished with an imprisonment term of one to three years and or fine of from FCFA 3 million to FCFA 10 million.

WWF provides support to the government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife to ensure the protection of these endangered species and their habitats. WWF is also mobilizing government actors, businesses and civil society leaders to raise their voices for a better protection of the country’s biodiversity through a New Deal for Nature and People.