The South West Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife (RDFOF-SW) within the framework of PSMNR-SWR has recently initiated a process to conduct a DNA analysis of elephant tusks principally confiscated along the Tiko-Douala highway of the South West Region.

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According to RDFOF-SW reports, some 269 elephant tusks have been seized between 2013 and 2016 by the forces of law and order and RDFOF-SW from Tiko, Kumba, Nguti and Idenau. The origin of 263 of these elephant tusks are unknown while 6 were tusks collected from elephant carcasses in Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, Mount Cameroon and Korup National Parks.

The protection status and the lack of knowledge on the origin of most of the elephant tusks ignited the need for a DNA analysis.

RDFOF-SW with support from PSMNR-SWR has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dr Samuel K Wasser of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington, USA to conduct the DNA analysis; and a Non-Governmental Organisation TENGWOOD based in Calabar Nigeria, had offered their services free of charge to extract and condition the samples in an appropriate way. Following the protocol of the Center for Conservation Biology, 154 samples have been extracted and conditioned by TENGWOOD.

The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife has also authorised the transportation of these samples from Cameroon to the Unites States of America by issuing relevant documents including CITES permit and Certificate of Origin. Dr Wasser facilitated the acquiring of Import Permit  from the US government. The regional delegation has shipped  the package through a local postal service

The results of this DNA analysis will contribute in updating the data base on the trafficking of ivory within the sub-region. It will also help to identify the origin of the ivories based on comparative analysis of the data with those of other places in Cameroon and neighboring countries in the Congo Basin. This information would be very helpful for investigations to combat national and international wildlife crime networks.