Born Free USA Global Field Projects
The Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA) is a unique non-governmental organization (NGO) located in Cameroon that participates in law-enforcement activities. Through partnership with the government of Cameroon, LAGA staff members conduct investigations and aid in the apprehension of wildlife traffickers. In addition, LAGA provides public education and ensures the humane handling of confiscated animals.
Born Free USA offers financial support specifically for LAGA’s investigations and law-enforcement activities. Investigations uncover a variety of wildlife law violations, including buying and selling animals as exotic pets, pelt trading, and smuggling elephant tusks.
The success of LAGA’s model can be attributed to a variety of factors. The organization recruits only the most dedicated and qualified volunteers. It also has in place a variety of mechanisms for checking its progress. When LAGA was established in 2003, in Cameroon, there had been no arrests on record of wildlife smugglers; since then the organization has kept detailed records of its activities in order to monitor their effectiveness.
In recent years, LAGA has sought to replicate similar initiatives in the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo and Gabon to prosecute wildlife traders throughout sub-Saharan Africa.