In an op-ed published on the website of the US(United States of America) embassy in Cameroon on the 3rd of March, 2015, Michael S. Hoza the US Ambassador to Cameroon made it clear that protecting elephants is a national security priority.
|US Ambassador to Cameroon, Michael S. Hoza, at The Bouba N’djida National Park met elephant skeletons instead of live elephants.|
Today, there are only 90 000 to 150 000 elephants left in the Central African Region, Cameroon having a big majority of the population. Although poaching has reduced considerably since 2012, poachers have succeeded to kill up till date, 600 and more of these precious heavy weights land mammals in Cameroon.
After visiting the Bouba N’djida National Park, and having a firsthand view of the situation, Michael S. Hoza is sorry to say him and his team “did not see a single live elephant over the course of three days” in a park that used to preserve 800 elephants in 2008. Instead of elephants, he met skeletons of slaughtered giant mammals in the park.
Ivory trade is believed to be the key driver of elephant poaching in Cameroon and elsewhere in the world. Michael says his country “has taken a firm stand against this trade, and last year imprisoned an American citizen for illegally trading ivory”.
“Also, on February 11, 2014, President Obama announced the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking that strengthens American capacity to counter the global security threat posed by transnational criminal organizations that engage in trafficking wildlife." He added.
However, he calls on all stake holders involved in the global fight against poaching and ivory trafficking to join hands with Cameroon. He challenged them to swell up their efforts and partner with the Cameroon government and the people to safe Cameroon’s elephants before it goes extinct.
Michael is convinced there is still “time to save Cameroon’s tragically dwindling elephant population… and wildlife for future generations -- before it is too late”. But equally called on the attention of people by pointing out, “the fast decimation of elephants in Bouba N’djida indicates that if the current trend continues, our children and grandchildren will one day read about elephants only in the history books as an extinct species.”
The Ambassador reiterated the “U.S. Embassy is prepared to commit resources to protect wildlife in Cameroon, and the U.S. Government is working hard with governments in Asia and elsewhere to try to reduce demand for ivory, rhinoceros horn and other trafficked wildlife commodities."