Illegal Wildlife Trade - Cameroon
In 2002 four Western Lowland gorillas were illegally exported out of Nigeria, via South Africa, to the Taiping Zoo in Malaysia. Following the discovery of the illegal shipment and the animal’s confiscation from the zoo, the Malaysian Government sent them back to South Africa.
The four gorillas, Izan, Abbey, Tinu and Oyin – three females and a male popularly known as the ‘Taiping Four’ were housed at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa. DNA tests confirmed that the Cameroon was the most likely place of origin of these gorillas.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) agreed to fund the return of the four Western Lowland gorillas. The organisation is one of a number of groups including the Born Free Foundation, the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the International Primates Protection League (IPPL), and the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) that worked consistently to have the gorillas returned to the Cameroon.
Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon was identified by the organisations as an appropriate centre of excellence to care for the animals in the long term.
In November 2007 the Taiping Four were returned to Cameroon. Kenya Airways sponsored their flights from Johannesburg to Douala in Cameroon and Imperial Truck Hire provided their transport from Douala to the Limbe Wildlife Centre in Limbe South Western Cameroon.