Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Cameroon: six people arrested for trafficking in pangolin scales


Six traffickers of protected animal species in Cameroon were arrested last week in Douala (south), as they were preparing to sell more than 700 kilograms of pangolin scales

Six traffickers of protected animal species in Cameroon were arrested last week in Douala (south), as they were preparing to sell more than 700 kilos of scales of pangolin, a small scaly anteater threatened with extinction. said Tuesday a local NGO.

The police and officials of the Cameroonian Ministry of Wildlife "dismantled (on 18 August in Douala) an international network of pangolin scale traffickers" by arresting six people - five Cameroonians and a Central African - said the l National NGO LAGA (Last Great Ape Organization), specializing in the protection of wildlife and headquartered in Yaounde.

At the time of their arrest, these traffickers were in possession of "718 kilograms of pangolin scales" that they were about to sell, according to Laga.

Most of the scales seized in Douala came from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to the same source.

The network was buying pangolins from small traffickers in Cameroon, Central Africa and the DRC, Laga said.

The scales of animals were then shipped to Nigeria, from Cameroon, before being "assembled for illegal export", including to Asian countries, details the NGO.

Growing Asian demand has reinforced the threat to pangolin, one of the world's most poached protected animal species, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The scales of pangolin are used in traditional Chinese medicine and its meat is appreciated in several countries of Asia and Africa.

The international trade of eight species (four Asian and four African) of these small mammals 30cm to 80cm long is prohibited by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Some species are classified as "endangered", others as "critically endangered".