News / Africa

Cameroon Government Regulates Bushmeat Trade

Wildlife conservationists say in Cameroon, protected species are more endangered than ever before. Experts say the continuing popularity of wildlife meat, or bushmeat, is encouraging armed poachers to gun down hundreds of thousands of animals. But the government has introduced new initiatives to halt the illegal trade.

Vendor sells bats and other bush meat in market outside Yaounde, Cameroon
Vendor sells bats and other bush meat in market outside Yaounde, Cameroon

 From Cameroon’s hinterlands to the urban centers, vendors openly display smoked monkeys, gorillas, snakes, antelopes, crocodiles and more from the country’s receding forests.  For several years, the lucrative trade in meat from wild animals has thrived, despite anti-poaching laws.

Conservation groups like the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Society warn that at the current rate, critically endangered species will be completely wiped out over the next two decades.  

Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, Cameroon’s Minister of Forests and Wildlife, says the situation is outrageous:  "We see people selling bushmeat everywhere, anywhere, in public places, along the roadsides.  And it’s more or less putting a shame on our dignity and our commitment to fight illegal poaching." 

Boy holds an antelope in Bertuoua, southeastern Cameroon
Boy holds an antelope in Bertuoua, southeastern Cameroon

The government has worked aggressively to stop poachers.  The Ministry of Forests and Wildlife has been working with the police, the army and conservation organizations to crack down on the trade.  

The government has prohibited the transport of bushmeat to markets on trains, timber trucks and pubic transportation.  Also, a number of radio campaigns have been conducted to try to sensitize people to the importance of the issue.  But observers say the campaigns have failed to stop the high demand for the meat.  

Tons of it continue to reach the markets and enrich traders, who take advantage of the absence of security patrols in remote areas or bribe their ways through checkpoints.  

Wildlife meat traders say the trade cannot be curbed until the government provides traders with other ways to earn a living.
One woman, who did not wish to be identified, said she is quite aware that bushmeat trade severely endangers protected animals.  But she said that she needs the money from the business to send her children to school and buy medication.  She has been the sole income earner in the family since her husband lost his job with a logging company last year, the result of the global economic crisis.

A conservation group, The Last Great Apes, or LAGA, says hunters armed with illegally owned high caliber rifles have formed networks to kill 3,000 gorillas, 400 chimpanzees and 4,000 elephants yearly for meat and ivory in Cameroon and neighboring countries.

Boy holding bush meat (squirrel) in Bertoua in southeastern Cameroon
Boy holding bush meat (squirrel) in Bertoua in southeastern Cameroon

Cameroon’s wildlife law dates back to 1994.  It strictly prohibits the sale and trafficking of endangered species, with penalties ranging from fines of half a billion francs [about one million US dollars] to life imprisonment.  But administrative red tape delayed the implementation of the law until six years ago, when the first violator was prosecuted and jailed.

Ever since, LAGA has been helping the government enforce the legislation.  It uses undercover agents to track down illegal wildlife dealers and hand them over to prosecutors.  Gradually, things are changing:  an average two persons are arrested, fined or jailed every month for breaking the wildlife law.

The clampdown against unauthorized bushmeat trade has entered another phase.  Elvis Ngolle Ngolle says the government introduced a new program at the beginning of the year:  "Bushmeat should only be sold in Cameroon in markets or public places that have been designated by local authorities.  That way our eco-guards will be able to move around to ensure that any meat which is not sold in designated markets will be considered illegal," he says.

Two women vendors sell bush meat stews at market near Yaounde, Cameroon
Two women vendors sell bush meat stews at market near Yaounde, Cameroon
 

The bushmeat that will be legal to sell includes species that are not endangered including cane rats.   The government will penalize  anyone who sells meats from elephants,  monkeys and other protected animals.

Other idea being considered by the government and partner conservation organizations include the creation of farms to breed wild animals, like cane rats and porcupines, for sale.  They also propose working with traditional chiefs and their subjects to protect threatened flora and fauna.

The government is also recruiting, training and better arming forest guards to make them more effective.  And it’s working to provide other jobs for bushmeat traders in farming, including in the development of cocoa and coffee plantations.




                 



      


You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid