in the Deng Deng National Park such as the endangered Gorillas and Chimpanzees
are likely to suffer the effect of Zoonosis (transfer of diseases from humans
to animals and vice versa). This is so due to the high encroachment into
wildlife habitat. The life cycle and mode of transmission of intestinal parasites increase
the chances of cross host infection between phylogenetically related or
non-related species and re-infection of species.
The serious threat that parasites can impose on endangered wildlife species is increasingly recognized, as it is important in preserving biodiversity in wildlife ecosystems and controlling the emergence or re-emergence of diseases. Sensitization and mindset change is of great importance in the communities around the Deng Deng National Park to secure the future of primates and prevent the outbreak of diseases.
Human encroachment into wildlife habitat may increase rates and severity of parasitism via the direct route of cross-host transmission between phylogenetically related species (Preslar, 1998) and in some instances non phylogenetically related species (Linda, 2013).
Angwa Gwendoline has been working closely with communities around the Deng Deng National Park for some years now. With the emergence of COVID-19 and other zoonotic diseases, she is very worried at the rate at which locals of this area are getting close to primates most especially, and other wildlife species. Hear her “the rate at which people in this area are increasing getting in contact with primates and other wildlife species is alarming. This increasing contact will probably expose them to zoonotic diseases”
Many species of wildlife today,
inhabits relatively small areas because the vast forest that existed in the
past has been destroyed by human activities and as a consequence, diseases
appear to be more common in wild populations (Kock, 1995; Lilly et al., 2002
and Gillespie et al., 2008). To support this fact, a survey of emerging
pathogens in wildlife was conducted in North America by Dobson and Foufopoulos
in 2001and they found out that human involvement facilitated 55% of pathogen
233 critically endangered species listed by the IUCN, were alleged threatened by infectious diseases (Smith et al., 2006). These diseases are regarded as the cause of fluctuation or decline in biological population (Macphee and Greenwood, 2012). Wildlife diseases have historically gained attention primarily when they were considered a threat to agricultural systems and the economic, social, or physical health of humans (McCallum and Dobson, 1995; Holmes, 1996; Daszak et al, 2000). These parasites may be very important to determine the host-health and show significant influence on survival and reproduction of populations (Scott 1988; Lewis et al. 2002; Roberts & Janovy 2008).
Coupled to the above, primates as well as other species of
wildlife in the Deng Deng national Park are facing numerous problems amongst
which are, habitat fragmentation, habitat loss, illegal hunting, and a hosting
of others. The Environment and Rural Development Foundation through its
flagship program, Eastern Biodiversity Initiative is working to create a
corridor from Deng Deng National Park to the Belabo Council Forest with support
from World Land Trust. This corridor will provide and enhance suitable conditions
for the movement of endangered species and prevent occurrences of inbreeding
resulting from habitat fragmentation. ERuDeF is also supporting both the local
communities of the corridor area and the Divisional Delegation of Forestry and
Wildlife for Lom, to create two Community Forest Reserves of respectively 5,000
ha and 4,588 ha, to preserve a vital corridor between Deng Deng National Park
(DDNP) and Belabo Council Forest in Eastern Cameroon