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29 November 2017

Mt Muanenguba Rangers Trained On Biodiversity Conservation

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Mt Muanenguba Rangers Trained On Biodiversity Conservation

Some ten local rangers selected from Moungo and Kupe Muanenguba Divisions, adjacent to the proposed Mt Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve, have been schooled on biodiversity and resource management.

Facilitating NGOs, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and the Cameroon Herpetological Biological Conservation Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF), trained the rangers in a workshop that took place recently in Nkongsamba, Moungo Division, Littoral Cameroon.

Stanley Khen

Speaking during the training, wildlife biologist, Stanley Acham explained the role of community rangers in monitoring, evaluation, surveillance and control in the project area. He outlined the general overview of the project, schooling the rangers on how they are committed on each phase.

Another biologist, Ngoe Fai, schooled the rangers on biodiversity, explaining the role of community rangers in biodiversity conservation. He also made the participants to understand their role in sustainable management of the project site.

The Chief of Wildlife and Protected Areas for Kupe Muanenguba Division, Mekole Gustav Sorele, briefed the participants on forestry laws, classes of species found in the project site stipulating offences and penalties.

On their part, the rangers who followed with great attention the various lectures, said trainings were impactful.

“This training has made me to understand mammals and amphibians. I have understood those species of class A, B and C. I now know that hunting certain species or in commercial quantities one needs a permit. I now know what the functions of a community ranger are. I want to thank ERuDeF and CAMHERP-CBF for giving me this opportunity and making me to understand what biodiversity is all about and the development it brings,” said Ndunge Simon from Muelong.

The rangers indicated, they will welcome more trainings that will enlighten them on conservation around the proposed protected site.

“I am glad to be present here today because I have learnt a lot. I pray God should guide us. I have worked in this area for seven years with Dr. Nono on Frogs, Chameleons and lizards. It pleases me because I enjoy doing it. I am okay with the small compensation I have always gotten,” indicated AbdouKarimou, participant from Mbororo Camp.

Mount Muanenguba which cuts across the Southwest and Littoral Regions of Cameroon is said to have a heterogeneous Ecosystem, harbouring 100 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles and 270 bird species amongst which 60% of them are endemic. The mountain with height of 2411 meters above sea level, suffers chronic threats from communities living adjacent to the mountain. Habitat degradation, which involves conversion of natural land for agricultural land through shifting cultivation, destruction of trees for commercial purposes, overgrazing and trespassing of cattle in streams and water ponds, collection of amphibian and reptile species, amongst others, are the main threats rocking the mountain.

Faced with all of these challenges, Cameroon’s leading conservation NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), joined forces with the Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF) to conserve the rich biodiversity and Ecosystem of Mount Muanenguba with focus on Amphibians and Reptiles.

29 November 2017

VFMCs In Moungo Division TrainedOn Collaborative Forest Management

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 VFMCs In Moungo Division TrainedOn Collaborative Forest Management

A total of 42 Village Forest Management Committee (VFMC) members adjacent to the proposed Mt Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve have been drilled on collaborative forest management.

Facilitating NGOs, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and the Cameroon Herpetological Biological Conservation Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF),trained the VFMCs in a workshop that took place recently in the Mbororo Camp, Mbourokou, Muanenguba I & II, Ekangte and Nsong, Moungo Division, Littoral Cameroon.

Facilitating the training, Wildlife Biologist from CAMHERP-CBF, Ngoe Fai, drilled the participants on biodiversity conservation, explaining how VFMCs are implicated. He also made the participants to understand their role in sustainable forest management.

Another Wildlife Biologist, from ERuDeF, Stanley Acham, briefed the participants on the background of the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve project. According to him, VFMCs have an irreplaceable position in the conservation of biodiversity.

“The roles of Village Forest Management Committees are enormous. VFMCs play lead role in animation and sensitisation, and information gathering and dissemination. They actively participate in the elaboration of the forest management plan as well as in the execution of works in the forest. They are simply our vigilante in the project. They also carryout surveillance and control of the project area,” Stanley said.

The Chief of Wildlife and Protected Areas for Kupe Muanenguba Division, Mekole Gustav Sorele, briefed the participants on forestry laws, classes of species found in the project site stipulating offences and penalties.

On their part, the VFMC members who followed with great attention the various lectures, said the trainings were impactful.

“This training has made me to understand animals and amphibians. I have understood those species of class A, B and C. I now know that hunting certain species or in commercial quantities one needs a permit. I also know now what the functions of this committee. I want to thank ERuDeF and CAMHERP-CBF for giving me this opportunity and making me to understand what forest management is all about and the development it brings,” said,BebeyEyaman a representative of the youths in Mbourokou

The VFMC members indicated, they will welcome more trainings that will enlighten them on conservation around the proposed protected site.

“I can say the training will help the committee membersto act as agents to sensitise the communities to protect the forest and the threatened and endemic species found in this area,” saidNpoudiNgole Evelyne barea,an external elite of Manegouba II.

The VFMCs promised to respect the wildlife laws and also work with competent authorities so as to conserve the proposed protected area.

“I am glad to be present here today because I have learnt a lot. I pray God should guide us. I have worked in this area for seven years with Dr. Nono on Frogs, Chameleons and lizards. It pleases me because I enjoy doing it. I have learnt we need to work with the chief of post of forestry and not to take the laws in our hand,” indicated Amadou Caromou, a member of the Mbororo Camp VFMC.

Mount Muanenguba, which cuts across the Southwest and Littoral Regions of Cameroon is said to have a heterogeneous Ecosystem, harbouring 100 species of amphibians, 89 species of reptiles and 270 bird species amongst which 60% of them are endemic. The Mountain with height of 2411 meters above sea level, suffers chronic threats from communities living adjacent to the mountain. Habitat degradation, which involves conversion of natural land for agricultural land through shifting cultivation, destruction of trees for commercial purposes, overgrazing and trespassing of cattle in streams and water ponds, collection of amphibian and reptile species, amongst others, are the main threats rocking the mountain.

Faced with all of these challenges, Cameroon’s leading conservation NGO, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), has joined forces with the Cameroon Herpetology-Conservation Biology Foundation (CAMHERP-CBF) with support from Rain Forest trust to conserve the rich biodiversity and Ecosystem of Mount Muanenguba with focus on Amphibians and Reptiles.

BY STANLEY KHEN

29 November 2017

ERuDeF Staff Drilled On Microsoft Excel

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ERuDeF Staff Drilled On Microsoft Excel

Some ten staff of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) have been schooled on data analysis and processing using Microsoft Excel (Ms-Excel). The training dished out recently at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies, Mile 18 Buea, was organized by Man and Nature, one of ERuDeF’s collaborators.

Joyce Mbong

This training came on the heels of some setbacks or errors realised in the different annual reports submitted to Man and Nature.

According to the facilitator, Emmanuelle Rogue, the training is necessary in equipping the staff on the different aspects of Excel, especially data Analysis and other tools

“Am working with Man and Nature which is a partner of ERuDeF we are currently working on two projects that is the ABS and Palm Oil projects. During our annual meeting some of the staff told us that they have some need in excel and we need to improve their skills and levels in Ms-Excel. I also realized their weaknesses in data analysis on excel, how to manipulate tools and formatting. Iit was not perfect,”.Emmanuelle Rogue said.

It is from this experience that the focal person Emmanuelle Rogue was able to create exercises to rectify the various mistakes previously made by the various staff.

“The training was really practical, I made a power point presentation based on previous annual reports so that they could better understand. I hope they have all learnt something and that they will be able to extrapolate it in their current job,” she added.

Participants during this workshop commended the initiative of Man and Nature

“The two days workshop given by Emmanuelle was purposely to get familiar with Excel, the normal operations on functions, formatting and also how to do data analysis etc. As an Economist and working in the department of Livelihoods and Economic Development in ERuDeF, one can’t do without excel you will need it because most of the time you will need to do data analysis be it cost analysis, financial or revenue. So this training will be of great help to me, not only in ERuDeF because even out of ERuDeF I will still make use of this training. How to impute formulas in excel is not known by everyone, how to work on several excel sheets at a time and a host of other activities on excel is not easy. However, thanks to this workshop everything has been made easier for us by Man and Nature,” said AyangkengAtem Lauren

The manager of threaten trees of Cameroon Mountains, Adeline Tengem indicated that this training comes up in times where she encountered some difficulties in data analysis and interpretation.

“This training comes just when I need it. I can impute date quite alright but analyzing data and knowing the appropriate charts to use during data representation has always been a problem to me. Thanks to this workshop I can now analyses data with the appropriate charts. And I think these skills I acquired during this workshop will help me to properly impute, analyze and represent data using the appropriate charts,” Adeline T said.

Emmanuelle Rogue hope that with this training all staff will be able to manage excel hitch free.

10 November 2017

Restoration and Protection of Biodiversity of Mount Bamboutos Ecosystem in Western Cameroon

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 Restoration and Protection of Biodiversity of Mount Bamboutos Ecosystem in Western Cameroon

The Mount Bamboutos ecosystem has greatly been degraded due to massive deforestation. Intensive and uncontrolled farming in low and high altitude areas have caused the natural vegetation of the mountain to decline, the springs on the mountain top to dry up, hence, increasing soil erosion. Further compounding these, are unregulated land uses, land use conflicts, severe poverty, unregulated use of natural resources, water crises and food insecurity.

The Mount Bamboutos ecosystem by 1960 was one of the most biodiversity rich mountains in continental Africa with the presence of gorillas, chimpanzees, tigers, antelopes, elephants, birds, amphibians and butterflies.

The 2740 m high mountain conferred to this ecosystem a high degree of endemism and restricted ranges to many of the globally threatened species found there. Fifty seven years down the lane, this mountain once prided among the richest biodiversity hotspots in Africa, has almost completely been degraded with many of the species going to local extinction. Exaggerated anthropogenic pressure has been largely attributed as one of the root causes of the problem.

The Mount Bamboutos Initiative (MBI) is a project for the restoration and conservation of the Mount Bamboutos Ecosystem in Western Cameroon. It is a joint initiative of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Cameroon and the International Tree Foundation (ITF), UK in collaboration with the government of Cameroon to support the urgent restoration of the highly degraded ecosystem and biodiversity of Mt Bamboutos.

This Initiative seeks to restore the degraded Mt Bamboutos ecosystem and its biodiversity while improving on the quality of lives of the local and indigenous communities. The project shall run for 15 years in 3 phases of five years. The implementation shall concurrently be mountain-wide and regionally, based on key pilot sites.

Using the regional based pilot approach, one pilot village will be selected from each division within which activities will be launched. All the other villages will progressively be involved throughout the three phases of the project. Five locally based NGOs will be involved with one coming from each of the five administrative districts.

The key beneficiaries of the project are the declining biodiversity and the poor local community members who are farmers, breeders and hunters. Other beneficiaries are government ministries who lack cross regional coordination.

The Initiative runs in three phases. It is hope that at the end of the first phase, populations of some biodiversity species including gorillas, chimpanzees, butterflies and birds are increased to functional levels. This phase will equally induce food security and economic resilience. Meanwhile, about 20,000 ha of the degraded landscape of Mt. Bamboutos will be restored with over 8 million trees planted in riparian forests, community /sacred forests, water catchments, farmers’ fields and biodiversity reserve to support wide ranging ecosystem services.

At the end of the second phase, food security and economic resilient systems integrating women & gender considerations is attained for 15,000 persons up stream. Also, about 15,000 ha of the degraded landscape of Mt. Bamboutos will be restored with over 7 million trees planted in riparian forests, community/sacred forests, water catchments, farmers’ fields and biodiversity reserve to support wide ranging ecosystem services. Meanwhile, the Mt. Bamboutos biodiversity reserve is created covering at least 19000 ha.

The third phase will see through the putting in place of an integrated conservation and development plan for the sustainable management of the Mount Bamboutos biodiversity reserve, its elaboration and approval. A long term and sustainable funding mechanism implemented and the larger Mt Bamboutos conservation trust fund be established to ensure that the benefits of the Initiative can be sustained in the longer term.

The long term sustainability of the project shall be ensured by establishing a funding mechanism at both the community and larger landscape level in the form of a conservation trust fund.

The project which is expected to begin in January 2018, shall cost the sum of 4.5 million USD. The potential funders for the Initiative are: Tree Sisters, International Union for Nature Conservation, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Agropolis Foundation, Ardax and Owryx Foundation and Darwin Initiative.

The importance and relevance of this initiative cannot be over emphasized. Urgent interventions are required to address the adverse conditions weighing on the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem that are seriously affecting the local, regional and national economy of Cameroon. If these conditions are not addressed, then over 5-7 million Cameroonians will be seriously affected and not excluding the energy and water sector that are essential for the industrial development of Cameroon. We believe that if urgent measures are taken to reverse the prevailing situation of the mountain ecosystem, it will not only benefit the local communities upstream, but the entire population of Cameroon and part of Nigeria, directly or indirectly.

The project will restore and protect the biodiversity and ecosystem functions of the mountain, while improving on the standards of living of the local and indigenous communities. The impacts of the project will be felt at the local, urban and industrial levels by agro-pastoral, electricity and water supply industries in Cameroon.

It is based on the significant contributions of the results of the project that ERuDeF and ITF have engaged to develop a 15-year project that will profoundly improve on the human development index of Cameroon and her economy. It will constitute one of the signature projects within the framework of the AFR100 Initiative that Cameroon signed in Bonn Germany in February 2017; to restore over 12 million hectares of degraded lands. The long term track records of ITF and ERuDeF in relation to land restoration, conservation and sustainable human development, place the team as the lead non-profit organisations in this domain in the Central Africa sub-region.

10 November 2017

Promoting Great Apes Conservation In Cameroon Through Provision Of Long Term Economic, Financial Resilience To Community Institutions.

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ERuDeF Great Apes Conservation Initiative:

Promoting Great Apes Conservation In Cameroon Through Provision Of Long Term Economic, Financial Resilience To Community Institutions.

The Great Apes populations has witnessed a drastic decline over the years. Poaching, habitat loss, deforestation and disease infestations are the main causes outlined by scientists.

Such alarming decline has prompted international organisations to begin advocating for the conservation of these large mammals in Cameroon. From 1990, organisations like World Conservation Society (WCS), Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), International Union for the Conservation for Nature (IUCN), amongst others, recorded little successes in their advocacy drive.

Consequently, national Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) entered the advocacy drive with special focus on protected areas management creation, and research. However, the validation of the Regional Action Plan for both Cross River gorillas and chimpanzees in 2007 and 2010respectively, have witnessed little or negligible support in executing the action plans.

The ERuDeF Great Apes Initiatives (EGAI) is therefore coming to fill this gap. EGAI is a Cameroonian initiative that seeks to provide long term economic and financial resilience to community institutions promoting great apes conservation in Cameroon.

While WCS provides a strong conservation science focus, WWF and IUCN provide a strong policy focus. ERuDeF, on its part, is leading the development and application of community based instruments inspired from citizen science to promote the conservation of great apes and other biodiversity as well as habitats management and restoration of landscapes. This cuts across the Northwest, Southwest, East and Adamawa Regions of Cameroon.

Cameroon harbours four of the great apes species in Africa. These include; the Cross River gorillas, Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees, Central Chimpanzees and the Western lowland gorillas.

This Initiative therefore aims at conserving the declining population of Great Apes in Cameroon. It seeks to develop the management and implementation plans for Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, Kimbi-Fungom National Park, Tofala-Mone East corridor, the proposed Esimbi-Beba-Bafang Wildlife Sanctuary;

The Initiative is also out to create the proposed Mak-Betchou ,Esimbi-Beba-Bafang Wildlife Sanctuaries and the proposed TchabalMbambo National Park.

It equally seeks to conduct great apes research and bio monitoring in the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, Kimbi-Fungom National Park, Tofala-Mone East corridor, the proposed Esimbi-Beba-Bafang Wildlife Sanctaury, Deng Deng National park and Deng Deng-Dja corridor.

The Initiative will also establish and implement ecotouristic facilities in the various project sites, as well as ensure effective community development through the introduction of the Community Conservation Social Enterprise Development (CoCoSED) model.

At the end of this project, 4 new sites will be demarcated as a protected area, the management plan of 7 protected areas will be developed, and ecotourism and community development livelihoods will be developed in all the sites. All these will help increase the population of great apes in Cameroon.

The key beneficiaries of this Initiative include the local communities, the Government of Cameroon and the international communities

This project that will last for 5 years is estimated at $17 million. The potential funders for this project include ICFC, ACF, World land Trust and Rainforest Trust-USA.

The facilitating organisation, Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), is a Cameroonian leading conservation non-profit organization founded in 1999. It is dedicated to the conservation of wildlife and the protection of fragile environments through research, education and community engagements. Flag ship great apes include; critically endangered, and endangered wildlife species like the Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilladiehli), Western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglodytesellioti), central chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes), amphibians such as the goliath frog and other species.

The Organisation has been working in Lebialem Highland conservation complex and other protected areas in Cameroon for the past eighteen years using some of the most innovative solutions to conserve threatened and endangered wildlife species such as collaborative management approaches to support the creation and management of protected areas.

Key conservation achievements over the years include the creation of a conservation complex (Lebialem Highland Conservation Complex), and facilitating the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife sanctuary (which harbours the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla) in 2014, the first of its kind for a national NGO. The organisation is equally facilitating the creation of corridors in most protected area in Cameroon, to help allow genetic connective among species and for easy migrations. It works with the government of Cameroon through its concerned ministries such as the Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), Environment and Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED), Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), and Tourism and Leisure.

Internationally, ERuDeF is collaborating with conservation organisations such as WWF, WCS, ACF, BRLi, and others. Furthermore, ERuDeF is one of the key partners involved in the support and collaborative management of the Mount Cameroon National Park in the Southwest region of Cameroon.

01 November 2017

BCT Implementation Reinforced In Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary

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 BCT Implementation Reinforced In Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary

Members of cooperatives in communities adjacent to the proposed Mark-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, have been urged to speedup efforts in implanting the Biodiversity Community Trust (BCT) in their area. The Conservation Finance Officer at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Quddus Njang, made the call recently while on an inspection tour to the three main cooperatives adjacent to the proposed protected area. His visit came on the heels of the launch and implementation of BCT in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed Mark-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

Speaking to the cooperatives, the Conservation Finance Officer indicated that it is very imperative for the cooperatives to come together to ensure the smooth functioning of BCT. He outlined the benefits each cooperative stand to gain in the wake of the effective operation of BCT.

“The BCT is ERuDeF’s microfinance that will uplift your communities. We encourage you all to be members of BCT by saving your money. Through it, you shall be able to secure various kinds of loans. We shall also use surpluses from the BCT to develop your community,” Quddus Njang told the cooperatives.

His mission took him to some three cooperatives in the proposed Mark Betchou. They are; Mak-Betchou Cooperative Society, Nkongho-Mbo Farmers’ Cooperative Society and the Nkongho-Mbeng Farmers’ Cooperative Society.

During the follow up meeting with members of the above mentioned cooperatives, members were made to understand how the BCT is going to be implemented in each of the cooperatives. Also, they were enlightened on the role each of the cooperatives play in the effective functioning ofBCT.

After posing different queries and getting satisfactory responses, cooperative members promised to collaborate with ERuDeF to ensure the conservation of their natural resources for future generation.They expressed total satisfaction and willingness to be part of the BCT.

“I am very happy with all the efforts ERuDeF is making to better our living conditions while conserving natural resources. Through ERuDeF, we are proud to say that we now have our own microfinance institution in Mbetta. We have been able to enroll in professional trainings, especially on the management of microfinance and the enhancement of our livelihoods. I want to say on behalf of our cooperative members that we are willing and ready to see that this initiative becomes a success in our area,” Said Fonkeng Christian, President of Nkongho-Mbeng Farmers’ Cooperative based in Mbetta.

The Biodiversity Community Trust Fund is a brain child of ERuDeF. It seeks to create a financial platform where community members can save, loan and withdraw money. Its aim is to improve on the livelihood of communities adjacent to protected areas, so the human pressure on protected areas will be reduced to the barest minimum.

BY: Allen Tabi

01 November 2017

ERuDeF Schools Ranger On New Surveillance, Bio-Monitoring Techniques

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 ERuDeF Schools Ranger On New Surveillance, Bio-Monitoring Techniques

Atingtang Bernard, a new ranger selected by the Fossungu Village Forest Management Committee, has been fully equipped intellectually to take up his new role. This was during two weeks of intensive training on surveillance and bio-monitoring facilitated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). The training carried out in the Fossungu flank of the Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary, took place in October, 2017.

According to ERuDeF’s Biologist and Wildlife Research Officer,Gwendoline Angwa, the new ranger was trained on the basics of Global Positioning System (GPS) and data collection processes. To her, information acquired from the Fossungu flank of the Sanctuary will greatly facilitate a broad-based analysis of activities in the, hence, integrated in the Management Plan.

“He was trained on various aspects on bio-monitoring and surveillance, using GPS and other gadgets. He also undertook some training on data collection. His activities around this flank of Tofala, will enable us to have information on the specie distribution and human encroachment in the entire sanctuary. The information will be integrated in to the Management Plan of the Sanctuary,” Gwendoline indicated.

The training lasted for eight days with an additional 5 days for a test period. From the test evaluation, the ranger fully took his lessons well.

“His ability to manipulate the GPS and cyber tracker machines, coupled with his surveillances prowess, proved he was on track to becoming a qualified ranger in Tofala,” the trainer said.

On his part, the new ranger testified that he received the trainings in humility, and will be able to put to practice, all that he acquired. He indicated that he shall be rigorous in the Fossungu flank of Tofala so all the encroached parts of the sanctuary will be identified and reported.

“This knowledge I have acquired here is very important. Using the GPS to track and measure the size of an area is so great. I therefore shall immediately get to work to survey all the boundaries around this flank. All encroached areas of the sanctuary shall be reported in my data,” said Mr Bernard.

It should be noted that much of the Fossungu flank of the sanctuary has been converted to farmlands. It is against this backdrop that a ranger was employed and assigned to survey the area. Large groups of the endangered Preuss’ monkey were encountered on several occasions. This species were mostly seen in small forest fragment between the farmlands.

By: Angwa Gwendoline

01 November 2017

Rare Bat Species Discovered on Mt Muanenguba

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Rare Bat Species Discovered on Mt Muanenguba

Glauconycterisgleni (Glen's Wattled Bat), an erratic bat species has been discovered on Mt. Muanenguba. In a recent study carried out on the mountain by a team of chiroptologist made up of Dr BakwoFils Eric and Takuo Jean Michel,the bat species were found after it was last recorded and described in Cameroon by Peterson and Smithin 1973.

According to these researchers,additional studies are needed on the distribution, abundance, general ecology and potential threats to this species. They went further to explain that this major discovery is one of the reasons why Mt Muanenguba should be protected from human encroachment and degradation. They believed that this action will go a long way to protect this rare bat species and other endemic birds and amphibian species on Mt Muanenguba.

Glen's Wattled Bat is listed on the IUCN website as Data Deficient. This is because little information exists on its evolutional history, ecology, abundance and distribution. This little known African bat species is said to have a very small global geographical range. It has only been recorded from a locality of Lomie in the East Region of Cameroon and from a single site in western Uganda. This endemic species is presumably threatened in parts of its range. Threats from logging and the conversion of forest habitat to agricultural use greatly affect the population of the bats. As of now there appear to be no direct conservation measures in place for this species.

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They are also among the only mammals known to feed on blood. There are more than 900 species of bats in the world. Some experts estimate the number to be as high as 1,200 species. According to Bat Conservation International, bats make up one-fifth of the mammal population on Earth.

By: Manka’a Grace

01 November 2017

Tofala VFMC Builds Capacity On Wildlife Management

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Tofala VFMC Builds Capacity On Wildlife Management

Thirty three (33) individuals representing the Village Forest Management Committees (VFMCs) of some communities bordered to the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS), have received training on basic wildlife laws and the use of GPS. The training took place recently in Bechati, headquarters to the sanctuary.

Members of the VFMCs who were present, came from Bechati, Besali, Fossungu, Bangang, Folepi, Banti, Nkong and Bamumbu. They were made up of 13 women and 20 men of age group between 25 to 60 years.

The one day training was on the basic elements of the 1994 Forestry and Wildlife laws. Pictures were used to demonstrate the different species protected, and the use of GPS to collect coordinates, as well as tracing of the boundaries of a protected area. The training was facilitated by a Senior Wildlife Biologist at the Environment and Rural Foundation (ERuDeF), Allen Tabi.

Regarding the 1994 Forestry and Wildlife Law, the facilitator told participants that animal species are protected under three classes, A, B and C. According to him, species of class ‘A’are totally protected and may on no occasion be killed except as provided for by the law.

“For example Cross River Gorilla and Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzee are totally protected. However, their capture or their being kept in captivity shall be subject to the grant of an authorisation by the service in charge of wildlife,” Allen added.

He indicated that the species of class B are also protected, however, they can be hunted, captured or killed, provided a hunting permit is granted.

“For example, blue duiker (frotambo), brown duiker (deer) are protected. Like I explained, the can still be hunted, that is if a hunting permit is granted by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF),” Allen explained.

He went further to saythe species of class C are partially protected, example porcupines, cane rats. According to him, their capture or killingsare regulated by conditions laid down by theMINFOF law.

The facilitator also highlighted the legal implications for killing protected animals.

“Amongst other things, jail terms of five to ten years with fines of five to ten million CFA Francs, hang around those who kill protected animals,” Allen outlined.

At the end of the training, the facilitator indicated the exercise will go a long way to raise awareness on the different animal species protected by the Government of Cameroon and the penalties involved in hunting them.

Participants testified they grabbed a lot from the training. They promised to pass on what they learned to their community members.

“Such training are very important for the local populations because they are ignorant of the different species that are protected by the Government. We, members of the Village Forest Management Committee, will ensure that those we represent will also benefit from the knowledge that we have acquired. Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is our jewellery, so we should make sure we contribute in the protection of its species for the present and future generations,” opined Fon Nkemtaji Jerry of Bechati VFMC.

Village Forest Management Committees are structures representing the local populations, they play an intermediary role; facilitate dialogue, negotiation and consultation between the local populations and Council, Non-Governmental Organisation. They assure the participation of the local population in the management of their natural resources.

Enokenwa Allen Tabi

31 October 2017

Silver Back Company, ERuDeF’s Biodiversity Business Component

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 Silver Back Company, ERuDeF’s Biodiversity Business Component

The Lebialem highlands forest area is predominantly a palm oil exploitation area.The Lebialem palm oil development project was introduced in 2011 by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). It led to a considerable improvement in the livelihood of the local population with increase in household income from 20% to 45%.

In the course of the project, it was noticed that the capacity of the local population was not adequate for sustainable management of the project. To build up these lapses in management, the Social Business Development, was created at ERuDeF with a specific mission to sustainably manage conservation projects’ fall outs for the betterment of the local population.

In addition, the division of Social Business development was thought of as stimulant to foster rapid economic development in these communities living adjacent to conservation habitats in Lebialem highland. The department came to fulfil the aspirations of the local communities aiming at improving on economic welfare through job creation, socioeconomic advancement and the institution of community development projects.

In the same light, the Silver Back Company Ltd (SBC Ltd) was created as an institution in November 2013. Principally,it manages activities and operations of the Social Business Division.

The Company is named after the male Cross River Gorilla characteristic with a silver lining at his back. He is popularly known as the Silver Back Gorilla.

The company is a special class of limited liability, in which profits generated are not for the interest of the shareholders but to further enhance and promote conservation activities within the geographical limit of the project area. The company is concern with value addition to the activities of ERuDeF.It came on the heels of observation with partners and local communities that the people cannot adequately and efficiently manage sustainable livelihood project donated to them, market projects and bring back profits to the community for development and conservation support. The company has the opportunity to do value chain development for products within the conservation site. It can as well do legal and environmental acceptable businesses which are directed at preservation and protection of the natural environment.

The main objective of SBC Ltd is to ensure support for long term management of a system of protected areas in Cameroon starting with the newly created TOFALA Hill Wild life Sanctuary. Consequently, the company had to:

- To enhance profitability of the company.

- Support long term conservation efforts through the capitalization of the - Forest Protection Fund (FoProF)

- Production and commercialisation of forest products through the setting up of small scale cottage industries for the production and marketing of basic commodities with interest in Non Timber Forest Products found in conservation habitats.

Specific objectives of SBC Ltd

The company will sustainably do the following:

  • Processing and marketing of palm oil.
  • Production and marketing of aromatic plants such as Echinopsgiganteuse and Mondiawhiteiwithin and without Cameroon.

· Collection, processing and marketing of Non Timber Forest Products and by product in and out of Cameroon.

· Support the financing of integral conservation development programs throughout Cameroon especially in regions where ERuDeF is implementing its activities. This can be done by creating a conservation finance unit to better manage the project.

· Production and marketing of environmental news articles by setting up a media and publishing unit as well as publishing on line newsletter for the company to create visibility with partners and stakeholders.

· Position the company as the leading social business organization in Cameroon.

The company has created positive impacts in communities such as Bechati, Besali, Nkong and Essoh-Attah in Lebialem Division. Quality production in palm oil, echinops, and mondia whitei and honey has put smiles in people’s faces. This is possible thanks to the efforts of the Silver Back Company Ltd.

BY: Peter Tendongzi

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