Monday, July 15, 2013

Condoning with poaching


The other day, while working on a local flight to Lagos, I witnessed two sacs-full of pangolin meat (protected and endangered species) being seized from two Chinese by the customs. And it’s not the first time such a thing is happening. In fact, a majority of such butchered endangered species get seized and even boarded here every day. And it happens with the complicity of Cameroonian middlemen. Asians come here and pay for the poaching of our endangered animals (bush meat, tusks, ivory etc) and rare wood and we let them do it. They kill an elephant, use an engine saw and saw off its tusk as if they’re sawing wood and abandon the carcass to rot there. (I really feel sorry for elephants and especially rhinos because they are moving with millions of dollars on their heads.)

Our national animal is the lion, our resident president is even nicknamed “lion man”. Our football team is called “the indomitable lions” (even though these days anybody whips them and we now call them Domitable lions. Anyway, let me jump into that.) In the seventies, we used to have a thriving population of lions at Waza Park in northern Cameroon. In 2013, Waza park has no single lion, they’ve all vanished because of poaching, zero conservation efforts and zero government effort to stop poaching. They only seize dried meat (when the animal killing has already been done!) Stop the poachers instead! I really admire the Kenyans and South Africans where wild life conservation is concerned. And when Cameroon has to play football they start showing us TV images of majestic lions with big manes when they’re none left in the country. And start screaming commentaries when Eto’o scores winning goals, “Allez les lions…les lions ont marqué, les lions ont gagné.” Nonsense.