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28 April 2017

Eco- Guards in Tofala Upgrades Skills on Use of Forest Surveillance, Patrol Equipment

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 Eco- Guards in Tofala Upgrades Skills on Use of Forest Surveillance, Patrol Equipment

Nine government Eco-Guards and local Rangers of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary have improved their capacity on the use of Global positioning System (GPS), cyber trackers and camera traps in patrol and forest surveillance. The training which took place in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary recently, was based on collecting and recording wildlife, poaching and encroachment data in the GPS and cyber tracker.

Participants also improved their capacity on the mode of operation of camera traps, installation techniques and retrieving of data from the camera traps. During the training, participants were given the privilege to practically use these equipment to collect data.

Speaking during the training, the Director of Biodiversity and Protected Area Management at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF), Enokenwa Allen Tabi, said the carrying out of routine surveillance in Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is very important. He indicated that the training will equip the Eco-Guards with the necessary knowledge and tools to crack down on deviant behaviours and excesses in and around the sanctuary.

“The GPSs and cyber trackers will help the Eco-Guards to carryout patrol and surveillance in the sanctuary. Patrol and forest surveillance will enable the eco-guards to identify trends on wildlife species, poaching and encroachment activities in the forest. The data that will be inputted in the GPS and Cyber Trackers, will be downloaded for analysis and necessary actions taken. This can be used to facilitate effective management of the sanctuary,” Mr Tabi said.

The Eco-Guards, promised to use the knowledge gathered to patrol and survey the forest with all technicality. “I shall use the knowledge got from this training to effectively keep Tofala safe from poachers and encroachers,” Elebe Christian, an eco-guard said

They expressed sincere gratitude to the management of ERuDeF, for always standing by the government for the management of the sanctuary.

The Eco-Guards acknowledged that the training was necessary given that most of them are new recruits.

“Most of us are new to the sanctuary. With this training, we have learnt a lot that will help in our surveillance and patrol of the sanctuary. The exercise was more of orientation to me,” Placid, a ranger said.

For his part, the conservator of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Mr Amin Thomas, underscored the importance of such a training.

“I am very grateful for this training because it will enable those newly recruited eco-guards and the old once to improve their skills on the use of these patrol and forest surveillance equipment. These will go a long way to help us collect quality data that will be usedto effectively manage the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary,” Mr Amin said

He also pledged on behalf of government, to provide a vehicle, motorcycles, GPS and other patrol and forest surveillance equipment that will enable the effective patrol of the Sanctuary.He went further to thank the management of ERuDeF the only national Non-Governmental Organisation operating in the area, as well as financial partners for supporting the Management of the Sanctuary.

Situated in the Lebialem highlands, Southwest Cameroon, the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary covers a total surface area of 8087 hectares and harbours two great apes species, the Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilladiehli)and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes elloiti). It also inhabits drills ( Mandrillusleucophaeus), and other threatened wildlife species. It is therefore fundamental to ensure the protection of these species by supporting the management of the Sanctuary.

By Allen Tabi