Some two international volunteers who recently camped in the heart of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, have expressed total extolment for the biodiversity of this protected area. This was after a two-week’s research expedition in the Wildlife Sanctuary, wherein, they came in direct contact with 5 chimpanzees.
“Am so lucky to have seen the Chimpanzee in the wild for my first time taking into consideration the drastic reduction in population and the surface area of the sanctuary.Contributing to the conservation of this amazing species has always been my concern and am happy to be part of the Cameroon Biodiversity Expedition Initiative. It was very challenging climbing and descending steep hills and valleys but I could do that over and over since they preferred such in-accessible places to hid from human encroachment,” elucidated Justine Matton, one of the volunteers.
The volunteers, in the company of portal and guides, camped and conducted biomonitoring and planting of camera traps. Besides the direct observation of the 5 Chimpanzees, the volunteers also witnessed feeding signs, food print, nests, dung, vocalisations and tracks of apes and other large mammals were encountered on several occasions. They planted 20 Camera traps.
“Am happy to have contributed to the conservation of Apes with ERuDeF, initially I was wondering how the trip will look like. I assisted in setting the camera traps; follow up with the monitoring protocol to understand what is being done. It was a lovely experience for me waking up everymorning to see the beauty of the rain forest with lovely songs from birds. It was very peaceful for me and gave me a room for reflection. Everyday came with its own challenges and overcoming the daily challenges was what I look forward to,” expounded Marco Vander Veken, another volunteer.
To save the remaining 300 Endangered Cross River Gorillas and the Cameroon- Nigerian Chimpanzee from extinction in the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, a series of Biomonitoring has been conducted to determine the population status of the great apes and to determine the rate of human encroachment in the area.