Could Cameroon’s stockpile management be improved to ensure the safety of seized ivory products? Report recommends changes.

Government Leaks, Corruption, and Lack of Effective Tracking Methods Highlighted in TRAFFIC Report on Cameroon’s Elephant Ivory Stockpiles

On Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024, TRAFFIC, a leading non-profit organization working to ensure sustainable use and conservation of wildlife, released a report outlining the issues facing Cameroon in its efforts to prevent elephant ivory from entering the illegal black market. The report, entitled “Establishing a Robust National Ivory Stockpile Management System (NISMS) in Cameroon,” details the challenges the country must address to safeguard its elephant populations and comply with international regulations.

Home to an estimated 10,000 elephants, Cameroon is known for its diverse habitats, from tropical lowland rainforests to vast mountainous landscapes. However, the country’s elephant populations are under threat from poaching, government leaks, and corruption. Despite being listed as protected species by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), elephant tusks continue to be highly sought after for the illegal ivory trade.

The report highlights the weaknesses in the implementation of mandated rules and regulations, as well as the lack of coordination among government agencies in safeguarding confiscated ivory products. Sone Nkoke, Senior Programme Officer for Central Africa, stated, “Without Standard Operating Procedures and a centralized system to monitor and maintain the security of ivory after it is confiscated, our investigations found a lack of communication, poorly coordinated actions, and low awareness of reporting requirements.”

In addition to poaching, the report also reveals that government-held stockpiles are a source of illegal ivory products, due to poorly implemented legal processes and inadequate security measures. Furthermore, the report suggests that corrupt officials may be selling confiscated ivory back into the black market for personal profit.

Denis Mahonghol, TRAFFIC Director for Central Africa, emphasized the impact of these issues on the global illegal ivory trade, stating, “Not only do the potential for leakages of seized ivory highlight integral weaknesses in Cameroon’s monitoring processes, but if products make their way into the black market, it will continue to drive the international demand in consumer countries.”

Cameroon’s role in the global illegal ivory trade has been a cause for concern, as highlighted in successive Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) reports presented in meetings of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Since 2014, Cameroon has been requested to develop a country-specific National Ivory Action Plan to combat the illegal ivory trade, but the report reveals that only 8% of MINFOF officials have reported an ivory seizure using the ETIS data collection forms.

To address these issues and prevent further leakage of ivory from government stockpiles, MINFOF must play a leadership role in developing a robust National Ivory Stock Management System (NISMS). This will require coordination among other government agencies and the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure consistent coding and marking of ivory and reliable ETIS reporting. The report also recommends upgrading storage facilities and conducting periodic reviews of the ivory stockpile management system.

The report serves as a wake-up call for Cameroon to take immediate action to strengthen its ivory stockpile management system. TRAFFIC has experience in assisting neighboring countries like Gabon in implementing similar solutions, and they are ready to work with MINFOF to strengthen their Standard Operating Procedures.

Distributed by

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post

Green Home Building: Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Practices for Modern Dwellings

Next Post

Room to Reward Welcomes Aimbridge Hospitality to Their Network

Read next