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BUSHMEAT: A SILENT ECOLOGICAL DISASTER

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    On the road between Mora and Waza. Only a few inhabitants are left after several attacks from Boko Haram in the Far North Region of Cameroon. Cameroon, January & February 2016.
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    Soldiers from B.I.R. (Force Intervention Rapide). This special corps of the Cameroon army specializes in the fight against illegal trade of ivory and poaching. In an operation against Boko Haram, they are patrolling the road from Mora to the village of Waza, a village that has suffered several attacks by Boko Haram terrorist. Cameroon, January & February 2016.
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    Foresters from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife of Cameroon display the skins of snakes and crocodiles seized from poachers on the road between Maoura and Mora in the Far North of Cameroon. Cameroon, January & February 2016.
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    A Sudanese poacher captured in the park of Zakouma by the paramilitary corp for the preservation of the environment and the fight against poaching. This picture is a handout given by the press relation officer of the corp, Vice Colonel Faustin Ato. This corp has 400 soldiers trained and spread all over the country. Chad, October 2015.
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    The National park of Boubandjida in Cameroon. The bones of three elephants killed by Sudanese poachers in 2015. 54 Elephants were killed by poachers last year in National park of Boubandjida after the massacre of 400 elephants in 2012. The park authorities received more than 20 million euros from the European community in 2013 but the killing still continues. Today the park has around 10 elephants left. Cameroon National park of Boubandjida, February 2016.
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    The commander of the paramilitary corp of Chad, General Taher Adoum Orgui, surrounded by his men in the headquarters of the corp in N'Djamena, Chad. January 2016.
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    The skulls of 19 chimpanzees seized by the Laga (Last Great Ape Organization) a Cameroonian organization that works with law enforcement to protect the wildlife in Cameroon. These skulls were seized in December 2015 by Laga from a Cameroonian citizen's luggage in a car in Yaound. The man was arrested and has been sentenced to 3 years in jail and a fine of 2 million of CFA. Yaound, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    Soldiers from B.I.R. (Force Intervention Rapide). This special corps of the Cameroon army specializes in the fight against illegal trade of ivory and poaching. In an operation against Boko Haram, they are patrolling streets and market of the village of Waza, a village that has suffered several attacks by Boko Haram terrorist. Cameroon, January & February 2016.
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    Killed wild animals sale in a market in Yaounde that specializes in bushmeat. Yaounde, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    A living crocodile, turtle, and a pangolin on sale in the backroom of a market in Yaounde that specializes in bushmeat. Yaounde, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    Parrots seized by the Cameroon customs in the port of Douala, ready to leave for EUA, were given to the Yaounde zoo last year. Yaounde, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    Cameroon's Mefou National Park, an Ape sanctuary where apes rescued by Cameroon customs are brought to be rehabilitated and sent back to the wild. Cameroon, February 2016.
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    Soldiers from B.I.R. (Force Intervention Rapide). This special corps of the Cameroon army specializes in the fight against illegal trade of ivory and poaching. In an operation against Boko Haram, they are patrolling the National Park of Waza. January & February 2016.
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    A monkey prepared to be eaten in the backyard of a private house in Yaounde. Cameroon, February 2016.
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    The skulls of 19 chimpanzees seized by the Laga (Last Great Ape Organization) a Cameroonian organization that works with law enforcement to protect the wildlife in Cameroon. These skulls were seized in December 2015 by Laga from a Cameroonian citizen's luggage in a car in Yaound. The man was arrested and has been sentenced to 3 years in jail and a fine of 2 million of CFA. Yaound, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    Soldiers from B.I.R. (Force Intervention Rapide). This special corps of the Cameroon army specializes in the fight against illegal trade of ivory and poaching. In an operation against Boko Haram, they are patrolling the National Park of Waza. January & February 2016.
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    Jean Paul Burget, president of the association Defense Faune Sauvage, during an undercover operation seeking poachers of python skin in a market in N'jdamena, Chad. January 2016.
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    A guard of the Waza national park in Far North of Cameroon. This park received national park status in 1968 and became a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1979. Due to the recent attacks by Boko Haram, this park is in danger. It has suffered from a lack of tourism since 2013 when a French family was kidnapped, and more recently. due to the ongoing war between Cameroon army and Boko Haram. Waza, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    Wild animals killed on sale in a market in Yaounde that specializes in bushmeat. Yaounde, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    Shoes and skin of python skin are seen in the market of Mile in the center of N'jamena Chad. January 2016.
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    A Royal Gru, an animal strictly protected, is seen in a restaurant in Maroua, Cameroon. February 2016.
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    The head of a monkey is served in a private house in Yaounde. Cameroon, February 2016.
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    Customs officers at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on flights coming from Cameroon. On this day alone, customs officers seized 39 kg of bushmeat, which is illegal in Europe. 20 out of 80 passengers were checked. It has been estimated that around 300 hundred tons of bushmeat enter every year in France. Paris, France. March 2016.
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    The lab of taxidermy of the Natural History Museum in Paris. A delivery of animals seized by customs in France. Paris, France, February 2016.
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    Ismael Costa, the chief of the Environmental French Police. Le Bouchet, France. March 2016.
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    Tusks of adult elephants are seen in the French customs warehouse in Charles de Gaulle airport. Paris, France. March 2016.
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    The taxidermy lab of the Natural History Museum in Paris as a delivery of animals seized by customs in France arrives. Paris, France. February 2016.
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    The head of a Lord Derby eland is seen after a hunt by USA tourists in a hunting reserve near the National park of Boubandjida in Cameroon. February 2016.
BUSHMEAT: A Silent Ecological Disaster

This report strives to illustrate an objective reality: the trade and, effectively, the progressive depletion of fauna in Chad and Cameroon, as well as the struggle against poaching led by organizations in these countries and also in France.

This work has been created with the help of the French association Sauvegarde Faunas Sauvage, and with the assistance of the organization’s president Jean Paul Burget who, for almost 10 years, has bravely fought against poaching. He has infiltrated the branches of the illegal trade of protected fauna and ivory and has helped organizations in these countries arrest the offenders.

In Cameroon, the consumption of protected game is a cultural habit, as it is in many other African countries. While commerce is in theory, forbidden, it is a tolerated practice. Bushmeat can be found and purchased in the markets of Cameroon’s urban centers where is it discreetly displayed. Sales are made to the sheltered eyes of the authorities, but they can be seen, as these photos (sometimes made with the help of a hidden camera) show.

While these images may be shocking for the Western public, they are not foreign to the eyes of the citizens of Cameroon or Chad. What this work strives to underline, is that the consummation of bushmeat has transcended its traditional function, and now has assumed an industrial dimension due to the migration rural populations to large urban centers. If no action is taken, the fauna of these two countries, and that of many others countries in Africa will be at risk of disappearing, creating an inevitable environmental disaster.

An economic aspect is also illustrated in this report; one that relates to the export of this game to Europe, where importing and consumption is strictly forbidden. Done in order to satisfy the need of the diaspora, there exist tremendous economic interests. Every year, around 300 tons of African game arrive illegally France. As it travels from the African continent to Europe, the price increases 500%.

For the ivory the headline is clear — the principal destination of its clandestine trade is China.

It should be recognized that Chad is fighting against poaching. But in other countries, such as in Cameroon, this fight is not as popular. A question may be raised: what is the massacre of 500 elephants worth, for example, what happened in Cameroun in the park of Boudandjida in 2012 by Sudanese poachers, when compared to the killing of 2,000 people by the hand of Boko Haram of in the village of Kolofata in north Cameroon in 2014? A large part of the revenue of the illegal ivory trade (around €700 per kilo) goes to sustain the terrorist organization of Boko Haram.

The answer lies in the complicated entwinement of private affairs, undercover economies, and the egoism and corruption that feeds the continuous massacre of animals that is effectively tied to the massacre of human beings. The evidence of this link is not widely known but it is shown often in the investigations of CONAC (National Anti-corruption Commission of Cameroon).

It is difficult to speak out, but it is even more difficult to remain silent.

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