- Seizes more than 1000kg of bush meat from traders around Batoke
- Regional Delegate MINFOF SW says the seizure of the bush meat and sanctions on culprits is a lesson for others
- Tenkeu Armond, Regional Chief of Protection Unit, notes that his unit shall not relent in the protection of biodiversity
By Ikome Christie-Noella Eposi in Buea
The Protection Unit of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife for the South West Region has seized more than 1000kg (from 83 pieces) of some protected wildlife species from some traders around Batoke in the Limbe II subdivision who were in illegal possession of the dead animals.
Displaying the seized bush meat at the SW Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, the Regional Delegate Ikome Delphine stated that following investigations carried out by the protection unit, it was realized that despite all the sensitizations on the protection and conservation of wildlife, some traders still went ahead to hunt and kill protected wildlife from the Mount Cameroon National Park. An act she noted was unacceptable and punishable by law.
“We got information from our informants concerning the illegal sales of bush meat around Batoke and the regional protection unit of MINFOF carried out investigations and they realized that the bush meat were gotten from an illegal source. After that, we had to intervene and we carried out an impromptu mission around Batoke where the bush meat were found”. Mme Ikome Delphine revealed to the press.
“Among the species of bush meat that were seized, we have all the three categories of animals as classified in the forestry and wildlife laws. We had category A animals that were seized like the chimpanzee, drills, monkeys etc. We also had category B animals seized such as the python, bush pig and category C animals such as the rat moles, porcupine and “frotambo”. Among these animals that were seized we have some that were dry while a good number of them are still fresh”. She added.
“The people involved in this illegal activity are not really poachers per say but they are people who do small businesses. According to the law, when you are caught with an animal or parts of it, smoked or dried, you are considered to have captured the animal from the forest and if you don’t have an authorization/permit, there are some fines that will be given to the culprits according to the classes of animals”. The Regional Delegate averred.
The Regional Chief of the Protection Unit at MINFOF Southwest Tenkeu Armond adding his voice to that of the regional delegate said, his unit shall not relent in the protection and conservation of wildlife/biodiversity.
“For classes A and B category of animals captured without authorization, the culprit has a fine from FCFA 3 million to FCFA 10 million or an imprisonment term of 1 to 3 years or both the fines and the imprisonment term. For those who have been identified, we have handed the culprits to the competent services where investigations and other court procedures are ongoing”. He said his unit shall continue to work hand in gloves with the competent authorities, park services and the communities to ensure that the wildlife is protected.
Quizzed on what MINFOF is doing to sensitize the people around the Mount Cameroon National Park especially the Batoke people on biodiversity conservation, the regional delegate MINFOF noted that they have collaborative agreements with the communities. “We work together with the communities by carrying out activities in the park. The people are being sensitized on a regular basis. They have a village management committee which is a structure that works together with the park services and other MINFOF services in Fako division or around the west coast area. We use to carry out sensitization meetings together with them and their representatives”
“We all know that Batoke is a cosmopolitan village and during this period of the crisis we have people who have settled there so these illegal activities might not be carried out by the indigenes of Batoke because we have been sensitizing the indigenes on the protection of the Mount Cameroon National Park. They know their so we think such acts might be carried out by the people from other areas who are not aware of the laws.
It is important to state that animals seized in the A category were burnt while those of the B and C categories were auctioned for sale.