Trade with Pangolins in Cameroon

Director´s view

Miroslav Bobek  |  29. 04. 2023

It was an unbelievable paradox. During my journey to Cameroon, I received news about the progress of the pangolin female Šiška and at the same time I was daily seeing pangolins in street stalls and on markets or cooked in local restaurants… Pangolins have been strictly protected in Cameroon for many years, however the trade in them is still extremely widespread.

Photo: Miroslav Bobek Photo: Miroslav Bobek

The entire trade chain begins with country hunters, or rather poachers. Near the town of Somalomo I had the opportunity to watch two schoolboys preparing snares. Every week they catch in them four to six pangolins and sell them to traffickers for 2,500 CFA (3.8 EUR). Having seen the conditions in which these boys live, I can hardly judge them.

Foto: Miroslav Bobek

In Yaounde the pangolins are sold in street stalls or on markets for 17,000 – 20,000 CFA (26 – 30 EUR) per piece. Especially the marketplace Nkol-Ndongo, where the pangolins are offered quite publicly, is infamous. According to our informants the officials, who should ensure the law is enforced, do not dare to enter this marketplace alone. Any inspections must be done with the assistance of soldiers.

Foto: Miroslav Bobek

No less shocking is the preparation of pangolins in restaurants. For instance, small restaurants in the town of Mbalmayo have them on their menu quite regularly. The owner of one of the restaurants, smiling widely, showed me a pot with pangolin meat. She sells one portion for 1,500 CFA (2.3 EUR) and according to her it is the most popular item on the menu.