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

Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Seen as a potential driver of recovery, Cairo’s plan to expand waterway had been raising hopes to give country much needed economic boost More

Ebola Maternity Ward in Sierra Leone First of its Kind

Country already had one of world's highest maternal mortality rates before Ebola arrived, virus has added even more complications to health care More

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Ruled Accident

Aircraft disappeared on March 8, 2014; with ruling, families of 239 passengers and crew can now seek compensation from airline 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.
Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Productioni
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Groundbreaking Hand-Painted Documentary About Van Gogh in Production

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid