By Vincent Gudmia Mfonfu in Yaounde
Wildlife law enforcement authorities in Cameroon, with technical assistance from The Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA), have seized some 500 parrots from forests in the South aboard an Ethiopian Airways plane at the Douala International Airport about to be smuggled.
Earlier, two Ghanaians, we learnt, were arrested for trying to smuggle 500 other parrots still at the Douala airport, bringing the number to 1000. The 500 parrots intercepted earlier, were released into the wild by officials of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife. Heading the operation, Forestry and Wildlife minister, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, reiterated government's commitment to implement wildlife law and ensure sustainability.
The Director of Animal Health in the Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry in Bahrain (the intended destination of the parrots), Salman Abdulnabi Al Ebrahim, said a Ministerial order banning import of all kinds of birds into-Bahrain had been issued. "Even if some of these parrots had made their way out of Cameroon, they would not have been allowed in."
Meantime, the transportation of endangered and protected wildlife species is governed by international aviation regulations, linked to the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered wild Fauna and Flora Species (CITES).
The Convention requires that exportation of protected wildlife species including parrots be accompanied by a genuine permit issued by a competent national authority.
The Director of the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA), Drori Ofir, says, "we're considering initiating a court case against any airline involved in the transport of wildlife without permit".
Sandy Carter, an official of the Bahrain Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Sanctuary (BSPCA) said "I am happy the smugglers have been caught and I am happy the birds have been released into the wild."