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04 February 2013

Man and Nature Confirms 3-year funding on ERuDeF’s projects

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Develops Long-term partnership

man and nature filming crew

French partner of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, Man and Nature has confirmed a 3-year funding partnership with the organization. The two organizations entered into a partnership in 2010 with the vision of saving the last great apes, Cross River Gorilla in the Lebialem Mone Landscape. Three years down the lane, Man and Nature has supported ERuDeF in her bio-monitoring activities in the Lebialem highlands and the Cameroon Nigeria border which is home to the critically endangered Cross River gorilla and Nigeria chimpanzees. Man and Nature has equally supported ERuDeF in the provision of alternative sources of livelihood to the local people such as oil mill, piglets and beehives. The visit of the French conservation organization was therefore to evaluate how successful and what impact these projects have had on the local people.

This was done through a week monitoring of some of ERuDeF’s projects on the ground by the Executive Director of Man and Nature, Olivier Behra from the 19th to 23rd January, 2013. In an effort to increase the visibility of these projects and also increase funding for ERuDeF, Man and Nature was in Cameroon with an audiovisual firm Cinecure to develop a documentary based on the projects on the ground and also establish a long-term partnership. The documentary would be distributed internationally to help the world understand conservation issues in this area and how ERuDeF has succeeded to conserve the last remaining great apes so far.

The first stop was at the head office of ERuDeF in Buea where the crew familiarized themselves with some of the staff of the organization. Mr. Behra then preceded to Magha a village in the Lebialem highlands, which is an integral part of Cameroon’s third highest peak, Mt Bamboutos. Man and Nature and ERuDeF are currently working on the valorization of a plant the Echinops giganteus which has some fragrance and pharmaceutical potentials and is present in Magha. In Magha, Mr. Behra was able to hold talks with over 50 people in the community who embraced the project and also expressed their desire to plant trees and restore their degraded landscape. The next stop was at Bechati where the team went into the Proposed Tofala Wildlife Hill Sanctuary to do bio-monitoring of Great Apes. Worthy to note is the fact that the Bechati village forms one of the forest blocks on the Cameroon-Nigeria border which is home to some 300 critically endangered cross river gorilla and over 600 Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees. Bechati forms a significant portion of the proposed Tofala Wildlife Hill Sanctuary, which the government of Cameroon, with technical assistance of ERuDeF is working towards awarding the area the status of a full protected area.

This team visited the Besali oil mill took footages of its operations. The manager of the Besali oil mill, Joseph Forbai said “the presence of the oil mill for over one year now has led to increase in quantity and quality of oil produced. Before the process was labour intensive but today the machine has the capacity of milling over 20 drums of nuts for two hours, a task which could take over a week to do traditionally. The oil produced now is very good for soap making, frying of puff balls which the former oil would not do. With this improvement in quality, farmers have now gone beyond selling oil locally to selling in neighbouring city Dschang and this has led to an increase in income”.

Man and Nature congratulates ERuDeF for a job well done in conservation
After touring ERuDeF’s project sites for one week, Olivier Behra expressed his satisfaction on the work the non-profit organization is doing in conserving wildlife and protecting the environment in a press conference that took place in Buea on the 23rd January, 2013. “I would personally like to congratulate ERuDeF for the marvelous job especially in the Tofala area where I visited and saw the motivation of the local people in conservation. The actions of ERuDeF are already felt on the ground positively. I realized the organization has been doing a lot of concrete projects on the ground like the setting up of the palm mill” Mr. Behra noted that the creation of the protected area, the Tofala Wildlife Hill Sanctuary will be a highpoint in the conservation process in that region in particular and Cameroon in general and added that “The presence of devoted conservation organizations like ERuDeF is what motivates Man and Nature to work with them in the protection of fragile species”. On his part, the CEO of ERuDeF used the Press conference as a unique opportunity to thank her partner Man and Nature for the support given them so far and promised that they would do everything possible to ensure the goals of conservation are achieved in the near future.


By Regina Fonjia Leke