Four suspected poachers arrested in Cameroon crackdown

Posted on 28 February 2011
Entrance to Baringa Bek National Park, Cameroon
© Olivier Van Bogaert / WWF
Two elephant tusks have been seized and an illegal wildlife trade network disrupted in Cameroon’s Boumba Bek National Park. Rangers were able to arrest the network’s hunter, buyer, sponsor and middleman largely due to information provided by community members living nearby.

The four, which included a woman and a member of the Baka ethnic group, have been detained while awaiting trial. Park rangers suspect the group may behind elephant deaths that occurred in January.

The arrests come amidst a crackdown on poachers in Cameroon. A man was recently sentenced to ten months in prison for killing a giant pangolin, illegally possessing arms, and hunting without authorization within a logging concession.

Two other men are currently being prosecuted for wildlife crimes. One is charged with killing a protected panther, while another is accused of ivory trafficking having been arrested in possession of two elephant tusks.

Park officials say that most poachers operate inside forests being exploited by logging companies.

“Going by results of the recent patrols, ten people have been arrested in logging concessions. Three have already faced trial, while seven are in the cause of being charged to court,” said Nasser Bariga, head of the Boumba Bek Mobile Intervention Brigade.

“If we do not limit this pressure, poachers might finally invade the heartland of the park,” Baringa said. “We intend to pursuit effort in this direction. We have seized 1000 wire snares, destroyed ten poachers’ camps and confiscated three guns, including other hunting equipment.”

WWF supports anti-poaching and other conservation work in Baringa Bek National Park including fitting forest elephants with radio collars for tracking.
Entrance to Baringa Bek National Park, Cameroon
© Olivier Van Bogaert / WWF Enlarge