On social media, a well-followed Cameroonian user posts pictures and videos of her daily life with her monkey pet. Her posts attract many comments and likes but the fact is, she is somehow violating Cameroonian law. In Cameroon, it is prohibited to keep a monkey as a pet because monkeys are endangered species.
According to the Cameroonian forest law, without special authorizations, no one can keep them as pets. In recent years, the country has arrested several suspected monkey traffickers in application of its forest law. The recent arrest was the interpellation of a man arrested with a baby chimp at Nanga-Eboko, Haute-Sanaga (Centre) last May 10.
In some cases, the suspects claim they were not aware it is forbidden to own monkeys as pets. In 2006, former prime minister Achidi Achu handed a chimp to wildlife authorities in the Northwest after he was informed that the law forbids ownership of endangered species.
Let’s note that chimpanzee is a class A species, i.e., totally protected and cannot, under any circumstances, be killed. However, it can be captured and kept as a pet provided an authorization is issued by the Ministry of Forests and Wildlife.
"In Central African countries, chimpanzees are hunted and used for mystical and traditional rituals as well as for their meat. While large chimpanzees are killed for their meat, small ones are captured alive and sold as pets," explains LAGA, an organization that supports the government in enforcing the wildlife law.
The law is clear: anyone found in possession of all or part of an endangered species, alive or dead, is deemed to have captured or killed it and is liable to a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine of XAF3 to 10 million if convicted.