Cameroon government and partners decide on collaborative steps for pangolin conservation
9th August 2019, Mbankomo, Cameroon — TRAFFIC, with the assistance of the Cameroon Pangolin Working Group (CPWG), held a Cameroon national workshop on pangolin protection. The national workshop was kindly chaired by Joseph Lekealem, Director in charge of Wildlife and Protected Areas (DFAP) from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF).
The event brought together 21 experts from MINFOF, the US Embassy, as well as from additional technical and financial partners from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), TRAFFIC, the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Congo Basin Institute (CBI), Central Africa Bushmeat Action Group (CABAG), and the Centre for Indigenous Resources Management and Development (CIRMAD).
Representatives from research and training institutions also leant their expertise, from institutions including the University Yaounde, the University Yaounde II, the University of Dschang, Garoua Wildlife School (GWS), and the University of Stirling, UK.
The objectives of the workshop – organised as a result of TRAFFIC’s pangolin market survey in the eastern, southern and Adamawa regions of Cameroon in May 2019 – were to share the findings from said survey with the members of the CPWG and the Cameroonian CITES1 Management Authority for their validation, connect the CPWG with government members and relevant partners, and to contribute to the development of a CPWG action plan for the coming months.
The opening ceremony began with remarks from ReTTA2 project research officer Constant Momballa Mbun on behalf of Elie Hakizumwami, Director of TRAFFIC’s Office for Central Africa, and by an opening speech by the DFAP.
Presentations were delivered concerning pangolin conservation in Cameroon on the following themes:
- "Results of the pangolin market survey in South, East and Adamawa”
- "Hunting and trafficking of African pangolins"
- “Overview of pangolin trade and law enforcement in Cameroon”
- “Pangolin Mapping Trafficking from Africa to Asia”
- "Camera trapping to monitor the giant pangolin in Mpem and Djim National Park".
The survey was well received by both MINFOF and the CPWG who accepted the study as a useful overview of pangolin trafficking in Cameroon. It was also recommended that more quantitative surveys over longer periods of time should be conducted, with a view to guiding further conservation actions on pangolins of the CPWG and the Cameroonian CITES Management Authority.
The results of the survey on pangolin trade conducted in the East, South and Adamawa regions of Cameroon contributed to improving our understanding of pangolin trade trends. The studies justify the high need for the government and our partners to jointly increase our commitment and concrete actions to curb the rapidly increasing pangolin trafficking in Cameroon
Joseph Lekealem, Director of Wildlife and Protected Area, Ministry of Ministry of Wildlife and Forests, Cameroon
He added, “Despite the 2013 exportation ban on pangolin products by our CITES Management Authority, the results of this survey confirm that trafficking of this species still continues. We should use this knowledge to advocate in favour of mobilisation of technical and financial resources for concrete actions to fight against pangolin trafficking in Cameroon.”
The CPWG, which was launched in February 2019 and facilitated by TRAFFIC since, had its draft statutes governing its functioning examined and validated by the Group’s members.
After integration of inputs from representatives of government institutions present at the workshop, the Constitution stipulated that membership to the CPWG is open to any government institution, organisation or individual with a particular expertise in pangolin conservation in Cameroon. The group also agreed on a short-term action plan covering the period of August 2019 until January 2020.
“When we started supporting work on pangolin conservation in Cameroon a few years ago through MENTOR-POP3, all concerted efforts were focussed on more popular iconic species. It was beyond our imagination that such a team of researchers and conservation organisations would sit together with the government in a workshop on pangolin conservation. I am really happy that through the CPWG, this dream has come true in such a short time.” said Nancy Gelman, USFWS.
“For successful collaboration to fight wildlife trafficking and illegal trade in pangolins and their parts, qualitative and quantitative data, as well as the guidance on how we share and use available data, are needed” said Constant Momballa Mbun, RETTA project Research Officer and representing the TRAFFIC Central Africa Director.
1 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
2 RETTA stands for Reducing trade threats to Africa’s wild species and ecosystems through strengthened knowledge and action in Africa and beyond – a project funded by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
3 POP stands for Progress on Pangolins
The workshop was kindly supported by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in collaboration Arcadia, a charitable Fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s International Affairs Program coordinates domestic and international efforts to protect, restore, and enhance the world’s diverse wildlife and their habitats with a focus on species of international concern.
Arcadia is a charitable foundation that works to protect nature, preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge. Since 2002 Arcadia has awarded more than $1 billion to organizations around the world.
ReTTA is a TRAFFIC project aiming to Reduce Trade Threats to Africa’s Wild Species and Ecosystems. The project is funded by Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.