Cameroon - LAGA

The Last Great Ape organization (LAGA) is a non-governmental organization registered in Israel in 2002. Its goal is to fight the commercial poaching with its related trade of protected species. It is a field-based organization designed to establish the effective enforcement of national wildlife law that is critical to the survival of the threatened animals. The Director, Ofir Drori, is an Israeli national, whilst all the other staff are Cameroonian. LAGA operates out of an office in Yaounde and employs around a dozen people on a permanent basis to undertake activities from investigation to arrest operations, support to legal follow up of court cases. LAGA is the first specialized Law Enforcement NGO in Africa.

As a pioneer in NGO involvement in wildlife law enforcement in Africa, LAGA is credited in shifting Cameroon from a decade long baseline of zero wildlife prosecutions to an enforcement rate of one major wildlife dealer arrested and prosecuted per week.

The LAGA model has been replicated successfully in other African countries with its help and support. The EAGLE Network brings together the existing replications of the original LAGA project and aims to provide the structure and support required to build, coordinate and expand the national law enforcement projects in each African country.

LAGA has won the Clark Bavin award for outstanding achievement in wildlife law enforcement, and its work with the government of Cameroon won the Interpol Ecomessage award. In March 2011, the LAGA director received the Future For Nature award, and in 2012 the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal and the Conde Nast Traveller Environment Award. In total, the international awards accorded in relation to the work of LAGA reached seven.