By Isidore Abah
A poacher in the town of Messok near Nki National Park, East Region of Cameroon, has been wounded following clashes with eco-guards attempting to arrest and seize two elephant tusks transported on a motorbike. The poacher was wounded when his accomplice’s machete aimed at an eco-guard caught his hand. Rangers seized the two tusks weighing 34 kilogrammes but the poachers escaped.
The seizure of the ivory comes against a backdrop of a series of patrols and anti-poaching operations carried out by eco-guards in and around Nki National Park. Nki is one of three national parks in East Cameroon after Lobeke and Boumba-Bek, teeming with elephants, buffaloes, chimpanzees, bongos and other animals, threatened by poaching.
Rangers destroyed and dismantled 600 wire snares and seized a Carrabin gun. This adds to the several guns seized and countless wire snares destroyed since the beginning of 2014. Anti-poaching patrols around Nki have increased following the validation of a Strategic Surveillance Plan in Ntam on June 4, 2014, and offering of two motorbikes to MINFOF by WWF with the support of Africa Elephant Project.
“After the adoption of the strategy, we set out to effectively carry out surveillance activities around the park through regular patrols and anti-poaching operations. It was during one of these patrols in Messok that we intercepted two individuals on board a motorbike and a bag containing ivory tusks,” said the Conservator of Nki National Park, Pascal Dongmo.
“We hail the eco-guards for their courage and ability to reject bribe offered them to release the tusks. Some poachers offered them between FCFA 2 and 3 million to exchange the ivory they seized with smaller ones, but they turned down the offer,” Dongmo said.
“This positive result is largely thanks to WWF that has been supporting us in the field. It was thanks to two motorcycles that WWF gave us that we were able to put at the disposal of eco-guards, which enabled them to pursue and seize the tusks. This is the fruit of this great partnership with WWF and the Africa Elephant project,” Dongmo said.
First published in The Post print edition no 01544