Signing of MoU between the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and Baka Communities
A chimpanzee and mandrill rescued from traffickers have found temporary refuge at the Mvog-Besi Botanical Zoological Garden. This follows the arrest of three men for the illegal possession and trafficking of a chimpanzee and a mandrill in Ebolowa.
Officials of the South Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, in collaboration with the Judicial Police of the South Region, arrested the traffickers on August 18, 2023, during a crackdown operation.
The first trafficker was arrested with a baby chimp as he tried to sell her. The second trafficker was spotted on the street with a chained mandrill by the team that was returning to base. When he saw the law enforcement officers, he tried to run away but was immediately intercepted. They both were taken to the premises of the Judicial Police of the South Region. A third trafficker was later arrested for illegal possession of the mandrill.
The three suspected wildlife traffickers were presented before the state counsel in Ebolowa and two have been charged with the illegal possession and trafficking of protected wildlife species. They are presently behind bars awaiting trial. The animals were transported to the Mvog-betsi Botanical Zoological Garden for a temporary stay and care. LAGA, a Wildlife law enforcement body that assisted technically in the operation, told Cameroon Factfinder.
Chimpanzees and mandrills are primates with varying conservation statuses. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the chimpanzee is listed as an endangered species, with 170,000 to 300,000 estimated across its range. The mandrill is equally classified on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable. They are totally protected in the country under the 1994 Wildlife Law.
In view of the unabated traffic of wildlife, especially endangered species such as chimps and mandrills, there are fears of extinction in the near future.