- Mélanie Wenger
Endowed with an ancestral knowledge of the forest, Bakas from the east of Cameroon have been hunting the elephant since thousands of years. The last hunters-gatherers became mercenaries of the forest working for the first one to offer whisky. Tracking for armed poachers or for anti-poachers, they find themselves in spite of them in the front line of a the ivory war. We followed them in the forest during the rainy season in their thousand-year-old land, in search of tracks, of food, of medicinal herbs and of protected animals as well.

Facing them, they are 9, they are under-equipped, underpaid and have to protect the 2382 km2 of the National park of Bomba Bek, East-Cameroon, against poachers who hunt elephantswith heavy weapons. Ten days of mission, on foot, in the dense forest and the mud during the rainy season, moving forward, camps by camps. They scrutinize, observe and list the human tracks and rests of their crimes. We followed the tracking of these policemen of the forest, these eco rangers who fight against the big machine of the ivory trafficking.

© Melanie Wenger / Cosmos