While searching a semi-tractor-trailer truck carrying goods in the northern region of the country, Cameroonian customs officials made an unprecedented discovery. They seized 42 bags of pangolin scales, weighing 4.4 tons, according to authorized sources.
Customs officials estimate the value of this shipment that traffickers were preparing to export to Nigeria at about XAF4 billion, sources within the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance revealed. "This is the biggest seizure of its kind made by Cameroonian customs since the beginning of the year 2021," a customs officer indicated.
In Cameroon, the pangolin is a fully protected species. The country's wildlife law states that anyone found in possession of parts of a fully protected species is liable to a prison sentence of one to three years and a fine of XAF3 to 10 million.
Trafficking in pangolin scales is rampant in the country, which is one of the few territories to host three species of pangolins: the black-bellied pangolin, the white-bellied pangolin, and the giant pangolin. According to a recent report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), between 400,000 and 2.7 million pangolins are poached every year in the Central African forest.