A five-year jail sentence for a notorious elephant poacher could provide a lifeline for wildlife in and around an African rainforest that survived the Ice Age. The recent court judgement was passed in Mundemba, the nearest town to Africaâ€™s oldest and most diverse rainforest, the Korup National Park in south-west Cameroon.
Mundemba, Cameroon:Â A five-year jail sentence for a notorious elephant poacher could provide a lifeline for wildlife in and around an African rainforest that survived the Ice Age.
The recent court judgement was passed in Mundemba, the nearest town to Africaâ€™s oldest and most diverse rainforest, the Korup National Park in south-west Cameroon.
The case arose after security agents raided the hideout of poacher Akah Job who was found to have killed eight elephants.Â
Security agents are also on the trail of an accomplice who allegedly supplies arms and ammunition from the city of Kumba, some 80 kilometres away.
â€œWe welcome this new verdict and hope it will deter other poachers and their accomplices from decimating wildlife and above all protect rare and vital species from extinction for the benefit of the people around Korup National Park and mankind as a whole,â€ said Dr Martin Tchamba, Technical Manager, WWF-Cameroon.Â
â€œWWF works in safeguarding key species in Cameroon through supporting anti-poaching drives, and promoting the implementation of wildlife legislation is yielding fruits within key biodiversity hotspots in the country.â€Â
Acting from a tip-off, game guards of the Cameroon Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) based in the small town of Mundemba, supported by security officials from the gendarmerie, found Akah in possession of nine elephant tusks weighing about 8kg, elephant meat worth about 15kg, and eight elephant tails.Â
Two days of trekking to the remote village of Esukutan paid off as the poacher, whom villagers described as â€œdaringâ€, was whisked off for trial. Other seizures included guns, cartridges and wire snares.
Established in 1986, Korup National Park covers an area of 1,260 kmÂ². It is proclaimed to be the single richest lowland site in Africa for plants, birds (more than 400 species), herpetofauna (82 reptiles and 92 amphibians) and butterflies (around 1,000 species). There are in addition 130 different species of fish and more than 160 mammals. Many of them are endangered and some are found nowhere else on earth.
One reason for its importance is that it is in an area which remained rain forest throughout the drying-out periods during the Ice Age when icecap advance caused severe global cooling which caused much tropical rainforest to be replaced by semi-xerophytic scrub or savannah.
This park is also known for the fact that it contains the largest number of species of trees in any rainforest in Africa. The area receives a large amount of rainfall and a relatively low amount of sunshine. These factors, combined with poor accessibility, have allowed the natural rainforests to flourish in the area.