|YAOUNDE - Cameroon has arrested a Nigerian woman who was found carrying more than 200 dead parrots and rare Bannerman Turaco feathers, a customs official said on Tuesday.|
The central African country has recently stepped up its fight against the poaching and killing of endangered species.
Officers stopped Meimuna Ahmed while she was on a bus with 266 embalmed gray parrots and 597 red Bannerman Turaco feathers in the northwestern town Bamenda.
\"The red feathers must have been extracted from some 60 to 70 Bannerman Turacos, given that each of the birds has about 10 red feathers,\" Edwin Nuvaga Fongod, chief of customs in the North West province, told Reuters by phone from Bamenda.
The 41-year-old woman planned to sell the birds and the highly prized feathers, used in black magic rites and to decorate community leaders, in Nigeria, he said.
If convicted, she faces one year in prison and a fine of up to 10 million CFA francs ($18,230) under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, to which Cameroon is a signatory, Fongod said.
Conservationists estimate there are 2,500 to 10,000 Bannerman Turacos left in the rapidly disappearing mountainous rain forest around Cameroon\'s Lake Oku.
Story by Tansa Musa
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE