Archive for Cameroon
New research by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) states that the illicit trade in animal and plant parts is worth $19 billion a year, making it the fourth largest illegal trade after narcotics, counterfeiting, and people trafficking. The report highlights the potential risk to national stability as armed rebel groups are using the trade to fund civil conflicts. The WWF study cites the example of a large elephant massacre in northern Cameroon as an example. In this case, rebel groups from Chad and Sudan killed 450 elephants in order to sell their ivory to buy arms. A recent seizure of an estimated 20 tonnes of ivory in Malaysia on route to China only shows to exemplify the scale of the trade. According to the Born Free Foundation, the number of elephants killed from poaching (c. 30,000) now exceeds the number that die of natural causes.
e360.yale.edu 28th February 2012
Poachers from Chad and the Sudan are responsible for the deaths of nearly 500 elephants inside a Bouba Ndjida National Park in Cameroon over the space of six weeks. Officially the death toll stands at 458 but the actual number could be a lot higher as the park spans 220,000 hectares in the north of the country. Two species of elephants live in Cameroon: savannah elephants and forest elephants and their numbers are believed to stand somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000. The regional field program manager for the World Wildlife Fund in Cameroon, Bas Huijbregts, said “I wouldn’t be surprised if in the last six weeks that maybe more than half of the overall savannah elephant population in Cameroon has been killed.” The massacre appears to be well organised and ivory is the main reason behind it, probably for the growing Asian demand for the material. The International Fund for Animal Welfare has dispatched a team to the area and the European Union has called for the Cameroonian government to intervene. As yet no effective intervention has taken place. Mr Huijbregts also believes a similar slaughter maybe taking place in the Congo Basin.
www.guardian.co.uk 12th December 2010
A united effort by police forces in Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of Congo, and the Central African Republic (CAR) has broken up a highly organised smuggling ring that transported endangered species abroad. Key dealers were arrested and hundreds of kilos of ivory, turtle shells, and animal skins seized. The effort was orchestrated by the Last Great Ape Organisation, a wild-life enforcement NGO, and signals a new step in cross-border cooperation on the subject of endangered species protection. In Cameroon, three dealers were arrested with 17 turtle shells and a 1,000 African grey parrots destined for Nigeria. A policeman was also arrested in suspicion of receiving bribes of £2,000. In Gabon, 16 dealers were arrested with 150 kg of ivory, worth about £90,000. It is thought to have been headed for China, the largest market for such products. It is the first time ivory dealers have been locked away in the country. In the CAR, 7 leopard skins, 2 lion skins, and over 30 kg of ivory were discovered and one dealer taken into custody. Wildlife preservation in central Africa has been difficult in the past due to poor legislation and weak enforcement. Corruption has also been a big problem with all four of the countries fairing poorly in Transparency International’s monitoring of corruption issues.
La Mode Verte has joined a documentary production company in Cameroon to interview the ‘White Queen’. My Other Productions, based in Douala on the Atlantic Coast, has spent two months in the Cameroonian bush-country living with Claude Injike Bergeret, the woman who came to be called the White Queen. Ms. Injike Bergeret was born of French parents in Cameroon but left the country in her early teens as her parents returned to France. Such an impact the West African republic had on her though, that she moved back to Cameroon in her mid-twenties and worked at the school her parents had left a decade before. Immediately prior to attaining this job she had been to introduced to a Bangante chief of the area and their friendship blossomed. Three years later Ms. Bergeret became the chief’s 26th wife and moved into his chiefdom. The marriage did not go down well with Claude’s Christian employers however and she was fired on the grounds of entering into a polygamous relationship.
The marriage lasted until the chief’s death eight years later in the early 1980s. At that time it was local custom for the surviving wives of the deceased to marry his heir. Claude Injike Bergeret however had no intention of following such an arrangement and left the village to establish her own some distance away. She took with her several of the other wives and together they set up a small settlement based on egalitarian principles and a holistic way of living. It continues to this day and Claude has written of her experience in a series of books called ‘Ma Passion Africaine’, ‘Agit d’un Seul Coeur’, and ‘La Sagesse de Mon Village’. My Other Productions are currently producing a documentary on Claude and it is expected to be released early next year. A comprehensive article on the subject written by My Other Production’s director Leria Polidori will appear on La Mode Vert in the near future.