Climate change: Technology boosts efforts to curb tree loss in Amazon

Technology can help indigenous communities to significantly curb deforestation, according to a new study.

Indigenous people living in the Peruvian Amazon were equipped by conservation groups with satellite data and smartphones.

They were able to reduce tree losses by half in the first year of the project.

Reductions were greater in communities facing threats from illegal gold mining, logging and drugs.

Read more on BBC

Repairing Human Damages on our Ecosystem

Wendell Berry, a naturalist and writer once said, “the earth is the only thing we have in common”, so why would we want to destroy the only thing which bonds the human race? Our world was created naturally with so much riches, with enough for both humans and species to live on. Due to anthropogenic activities, our world is quickly crumbling with many species quitting the stage, and going into extinction. Nevertheless, with such calamity befalling the only thing we have in common; all hope has not been lost. Mother earth still remains the only place where humanity and indeed plants and animal can find refuge.

This decade has been termed as the UN decade on ecosystem restoration. Like many have put it, there has never been a more urgent need to revive damaged ecosystems than now. It is now or never. The UN decade on ecosystem restoration calls on all government and indeed everyone to prevent, halt and reverse degradation of areas such as grasslands, forest, oceans and mountains, essential for the survival of human beings on earth. The ball has been set rolling with the launch of this campaign in June 2021.  The UN Secretary-General António Guterres is quoted as saying; “We are ravaging the very ecosystems that underpin our societies, and in doing so, we risk depriving ourselves of the food, water and resources we need to survive.”. Where did mother earth go wrong but for her patience with the destructive actions of human beings?

It would be needless to start pointing out the tones of effects accompanying our wanton destruction of Mother Earth’s capital. The Coronavirus virus pandemic is a glaring example of the toxic relationship we have developed and nurtured with mother earth. If the present status quo is maintained, we can only expect the worst to happen, God forbid!

Cameroon has had its own fair share of the effects of the global problem of consistent biodiversity loss and the destruction of the very fabric that holds the earth together. Desertification is engulfing the Northern part of Cameroon, species are going into local extinction and land degradation is now a reality like never before in Cameroon. To add to the unending list of these effects, floods are very rampant in cities like Douala and Limbe.  All these re-echoe the calls that we need to collectively restore the earth before it becomes inhabitable again.

Cameroon is committed to restoring 12 million hectares of deforested and degraded land by 2030 as part of the Bonn Challenge. This together with  local and other international commitments such as the Paris Climate Agreement assure us that there is a will and indeed  there is hope. While we do agree that where there is a will there is a way, action on the ground needs to be stepped up and more importantly, environmental non-governmental organizations and the Cameroon state functionary need to act together like never before.

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), has been working to protect forests and  flagship species of plant and animals for more than 20 years. ERuDeF works with the government, companies, communities and other stakeholders to promote certification for responsible forest management practices: combat illegal logging, reform trade policies, protect forested areas, and more. In this light, our main priority in ecosystem restoration is to plant 300 million trees in 15 years, to restore degraded lands in both Cameroon and the Central Africa Sub-region. We launched this commitment as our own litle way of contributing to the global narrative of ecosystem restoration.

In August 2018, we launched one of our flagship projects, the Mount Bamboutos Initiative to restore 35,000 hectares of the  degraded Mount Bamboutos ecosystem with the planting of 15 million trees in 15 years, piloting till 2021

As the 3-year pilot phase of the Mount Bamboutos Initiative (MBI) project, supported by TreeSisters and Darwin Initiative drew to an end on March, 31 2021, ERuDeF was able to secure new funding from the German based organization, ECOSIA SA, in order to continue to support the goals and objectives of the initiative

This project which will run for an initial one year  was launched in February 2021.The project titled “Restoring the biodiversity and ecosystem functions of the degraded Mount Bamboutos Landscape” will protect and restore over 1500 hectares of degraded riparian forests, sacred forests and water catchments by planting 700,000 native and agroforestry trees. The project is implemented in some selected chiefdoms namely: Bafou, Bangang and Babadjou in the West region, Bamumbu in the Southwest region and Menka in the Northwest region of Cameroon. 

 ERuDeF has also been in the forefront in protecting bird species. “Birds connect our world” pronounced last year’s migratory bird day theme. This theme shows us how interconnected our world is and the 2021 migratory bird day and on April 09 2021, ERuDeF Celebrated the World Migratory Bird Day under theme “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a bird!” tells us how glamorous the earth is.  

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), remains resolute in conserving, restoring and connecting the integrity of ecosystems that support the movement of migratory birds, which face many difficulties as they connect the world.  ERuDeF honors these beautiful winged creatures, and also raises awareness on the need for international cooperation to conserve them. Migratory birds undertake regular seasonal movement often north and south along flyway between breeding and wintering grounds. Today, migratory birds still face serious threat, from loss of habitat, climate change, poisoning, power lines, illegal hunting, pollution and natural disasters. ERuDeF  therefore  used the opportunity for world migratory bird’s day celebration, to call on each and every individual to step up actions and adopt sustainable natural use methods to better protect migratory birds and the habitats they need to survive and thrive. On May 21, 2021 ERuDeF also observed the world Endangered Species Day in order to recognize the national conservation efforts to protect our nation’s endangered species and their habitats.

In Eastern Cameroon, ERuDeF is currently working on the Deng -Dja Conservation Corridor Project, to save  western lowland gorillas and many other IUCN Red List Species. We continue to make advances in marine and mangrove conservation, ecosystem restoration, agroecology restoration as well as amphibians and great apes conservation. In the Lebialem Highlands, ERuDeF is also working to save IUCN Red List Species, such as the Gross River Gorilla, the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee which are critically endangered.

ERuDeF looks forward to spreading its tentacles to other countries in order to ensure the earth is connected and safe. It is our collective responsibility to save our biodiversity habitats, and secure the ecosystem’s future for the people who depend on it.


Discover the Mouth-watering Ecotourism Potentials of Eastern Cameroon

Around the world, ecotourism has been hailed as a panacea: a way to fund conservation and research, protect fragile and pristine ecosystems, benefit rural communities, promote development in poor countries, enhance ecological and cultural sensitivity, instill environmental awareness and social conscience in the travel industry, and satisfy and educate the discriminating tourist. At the threshold of the new millennium, tourism has emerged as the biggest industry of the future. Ecotourism today is an economic activity of immense global importance. Perhaps there is hardly any other field of activity where it captures the mind of so many people around the world and involves many people directly and indirectly. 

Known as “the town of the rising sun”, the Eastern region of Cameroon is one of the most extensive regions of the country with an ecologically friendly environment. To the north, it is bordered by Adamawa, to the east by the Central African Republic, the south by the Republic of Congo and to the west by the center region. It is made up of national parks such as the Lobeke National Park with a rich and varied biodiversity in plants and wildlife resources with over 45 mammals species, 305 birds species, 18 reptiles species, 134 fish species, 764 plant species belonging to 102 families which have been identified (cameroontravelandtours.com), the Boumba Bek national park  which according to the Environmental News Service, “encompasses a biodiverse group of plants and animals, Chimpanzees, forest antelopecrocodiles and bongos are all found in the Park. The Deng Deng National Park is also an interesting attraction site which harbors great apes, gorilla, chimpanzee and other endangered species such as forest elephants. A population survey conducted around the Deng Deng National Park  area revealed that  more than 300 western lowland gorillas and 600 chimpanzees live within the National Park. The Dja Fauna Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site inscribed in 1987 and one of the largest and best protected reserve within the rainforest zone of Africa is also found in the East. It harbors a wide range of species such as chimpanzees, more than 1,500 known plant species, over 107 mammals (including forest elephantsAfrican forest buffalo and leopard) and more than 320 bird species waterfalls and crater lakes.

Aside from the natural attractions around the region, other exciting sites to visit include;

The old colonial prison at Dume; the now abandoned prison was constructed in 1909 and it went operational in 1911. It partly hosted the administrators and had sections for prisoners. It also hosted a guillotine for execution of “notorious” activists and some buried alive. Today the structure has been abandoned by locals because of the agony surrounding the structure.

Also very exciting is the boat and canoe ride along rivers like the Sanaga, Lom, Pangar, Mbouti and Djérem that meanders within the Deng Deng-Dja Conservation corridor.

A visit to one of the oldest and largest college in the East Region; Ecole de Salle, constructed by the catholic missionaries in March 03, 1949 will be a great site for religious tour. The college partly hosted the bishop and established as an Apostolic Vicariate of Doume.

The culture of the people of East Cameroon will give you an unforgettable experience. The East region is dominated by the pygmies who are the oldest inhabitants of the region and the country as a whole. They have one of the ancient traditions and are adamant to change. They have refused to led the western culture erode their culture and way of life. The East is made up of the Gbaya and Baka who inhabits the area. Most of the original inhabitants of the region live in the hinterland with hunting being their main occupation. They have secret sites where they do healing and cleansing of the land when there are problems. They equally have very interesting traditional dances which are mostly exhibited during national days and cultural festivals. Participating in their traditional dances, their hunting methods, farming methods and different meals will give you an unforgettable experience. The land of the rising sun is indeed a place to visit.

Longest Ecological Corridor to Conserve Western Lowland Gorillas in Eastern Cameroon under creation

To consolidate the conservation of great apes and other threatened species in Eastern Cameroon, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) through financial support from World Land Trust (WLT), UK, launched the Deng Deng-Belabo Conservation corridor project in 2020. This project is just a small fraction of the bigger corridor initiative between the Deng Deng National Park and Dja Biosphere Reserve. The main goal of this project is to preserve quality habitat of 7406 ha between the Deng Deng National Park and Belabo Council Forest for the migration of the western lowland gorillas and other threatened species.

The Deng Deng National Park and Dja Biosphere Reserve are two protected areas found in the East region of Cameroon. These two protected areas now occur as isolated block of forest due to increase human pressure that has caused the fragmentation. The increased human pressure has also caused a small population of the western lowland gorillas and the central chimps to be isolated in the Deng Deng National Park and another population of these species also isolating in the Dja Biosphere Reserve. These two isolated groups are under serious threat and could possibly get extinct in few years to come due to inbreeding.

To curb the occurrence of inbreeding and possible extinction of the species, ERuDeF is supporting the creation and management of an ecological corridor in the said area through the community forestry approach. Two community forests of sizes 5000 ha and 4,588 ha ha between the Deng Deng National Park and Belabo Council Forest are currently under creation.

Biological surveys (both fauna and flora) have been conducted in the two community forests and the surveys recorded 8 primate, 7 ungulate, 7 rodent, two reptile and one carnivore species in communityforest one and 7 primate, 7 ungulate, 7 rodent, two reptile and one carnivore species also recorded in community forest two. Some species of birds were also recorded including the threatened African Grey parrot.  The surveys also recorded 145 plant species in 41 families in community forest one and 156 plant species in 41 families in community forest two.

Socioeconomic and household surveys were conducted and a total of five villages with a total population of 2244 people border Community Forest one, while five villages with a total number of 3920 people border Community Forest two.

Sensitization meetings were also organized where the key stakeholders including the local people were sensitized on the project and its importance to the communities. The two community forests were named as KEBO and ADEMKEPOL by the local people in an awareness meeting.

Two legal entities in the form of Common Initiative Groups (CIGs) have been put in place. The two community forests boundaries have been mapped out; a public notice have been signed informing the communities of the intension of creating the community forests which will be placed under the management of the management institutions. The Articles of association have also been drafted and approved by all relevant stakeholders awaiting legalization at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

At the end of this project, about 5000 local people will be impacted while over 600 western lowland gorillas will be saved and protected as human pressure on their habitat must have reduced by 80%.

International Day of Forests 2021: time to rethink and redress our relationship with the forest

Man’s unsustainable way of exploiting forest resources has caused a number of problems, amongst which, forest degradation. The International Day of Forests 2021 presents to us another opportunity to rethink and redress what looks like geometric degradation of forest landscapes. Our lives are linked to the forest in one way or the other. We depend on forests for food, fuel, medicine and many more. This relation we have with the forest presupposes that we must manage forest resources sustainably for the present and future generations.

We at ERuDeF are convince that
for us to effectively combat climate change and the biodiversity crisis we find
ourselves in today, we must manage our forest sustainably.

Theme of of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is “Forest Restoration: a path to recovery and well-being” . Indeed, forest restoration is a path to recovery and well-being. We think this is the right time for us to take a collective action.  

For the past three days, the
Environment and Rural Development Foundation has been working with communities
along the Mount Bamboutos landscape in planting trees to restore this
mountain.   This is part of its 15 years’
commitment to restore this mountain with the planting of 15 million trees in 15
years, in what is today known as the Mount Bamboutos Initiative.  

We are extending our vision to
cover the central African sub region. for the next 15 years we will be planting
300 million trees to restore degraded landscapes in Cameroon and the Central Africa
Sub Region. Also, we will be planting 100 million trees on small holder farms
in Cameroon and the Central African sub region.

We hope you can accompany us to
achieving this dream. The journey starts with planting one tree. Be part of the
journey.

Cameroon: World’s Biggest Frog Near Extinction

The population of Goliath frogs in the wild, in Cameroon is
decreasing due to accelerated habitat loss occasioned by deforestation, hunting,
and over collecting from the wild for pet trade. The most is severe threat to
this species is hunting for food, and new sophisticated traps, for catching
this species are now being scrupulously used in the Nkongsamba area of
Cameroon.  These endangered frogs are
also been adversely affected by the loss of forest habitat for agriculture,
logging, and human settlements.

The Goliath frog is the largest frog in the world. This frog
is found only in restricted areas in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. According
to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), Goliath frog is an
endangered species because of a 50% decline in population size in the last
three generations. Presently, the Goliath frog is teetering at the brink of
extinction

Mount Nlonako in Cameroon harbors 93 types of amphibian species, including the Goliath frog. The 93 species constitute 32 percent of the 236 amphibian species recorded in Cameroon. Biologically, Mount Nlonako has been termed as a veritable hotspot of African amphibian diversity. The area is characterized by high amphibian, mammalian and reptilian species richness and therefore ranked amongst the top 10 mountain ecosystem biodiversity hotspots in  Africa. Due to lack of employment and livelihood opportunities, locals in and around the Mount Nlonako area are often engaged in hunting and poaching of wildlife.

On an average, the local hunters hunt twice a week and harvest an average of 10-15 frogs a week, resulting in an estimated harvest of 19,440 frogs every peak season, mostly during the dry season, revealed a study conducted in Mount Nlonako by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in 2016.

“in one night, I used to catch 8 to 12 Goliath frogs,” a
frog hunter from Magamba village, Mount Nlonako, Mungo Division revealed. “But
now, catching even 2 to 5 of them in a night is difficult. They are not
plentily available now in the area” he added.

Even their tadpoles are harvested by the locals for
consumption. “We have been eating goliaths for years. It is good for children
and pregnant women. But you should eat it when it is fresh,” he adds.

Some local journalists also reported that many of these live
frogs are actually trafficked to neighboring countries like Nigeria, Congo and
Gabon.

According to Tim Killian, ERuDeF’s Focal Point Manager for the Nlonako Muanenguba Mountains, working closely with local rangers, “we aim to learn more than ever about the Goliath frogs and the threats they face. With the knowledge gained, we will be able to devise and implement urgent measures for protecting the remaining Goliath frogs. It’s the only way we are  going to save them from extinction. It will be a major step towards saving these endangered frogs from extinction. But we need your help to pay for it. ERuDeF’s presence to rescue amphibians and curb the illegal wildlife and pet trade is critical. Every Goliath frog rescued is important to the survival and continuation of the species. The only real hope for these amphibians is the preservation of their rainforest home. Those that cannot survive in the wild are given a life-long home. However, their offspring are candidates for future reintroduction into the wild”.

ERuDeF Determined in Protecting Pangolins from Imminent Extinction

As
the world celebrate the Pangolin Day this February 20th, 2021, it
should bear witness to the fact that the Environment and Rural Development
Foundation (ERuDeF) in her efforts remain steadfast to the survival of the
remaining pangolin population in the eastern region of Cameroon, a region with
cultural inertia on bush meat, a region full with refugees from neighboring
Central Africa and a region of growing cross border crimes.

This
fight for the liberation of the remaining pangolin population under the captive
of the local people who are either poor, unemployed, limited access to
education with little or no knowledge on conservation is a task ERuDeF is engaging
into through the creation of community forests, massive sensitization
campaigns, promising alternative sources of livelihood and bringing
reforestation to degraded ecosystems. By so doing, the attention of the local
people will be diverted from hunting, they will have a sense of community
engaging by controlling their forest resources and thus the habitats of the pangolins
are going to be restored.

Bertoua, the “land of the Rising Sun” remains the capital of the bush meat market in the East region of Cameroon. Every day, about 70 to 100 animals are sold and eaten in Bertoua, including 4 to 6 pangolins. At the well-known Derriere Porto bush meat market, everyday a smoked, freshly killed or a life pangolin is seen or bought amidst other rodents, ungulates, primates, carnivores, amphibians and reptiles.   Many Cameroonians prefer bush meat to domestic livestock as they are easily available and cheaper.

The most disappointing act about the
pangolins in the market is that every week, life pangolins are brought to the
market and are seen struggling to run away but are either brutally smashed on
the neck, head or on the body. This has caused so much grief and distress to
helpless conservationist who may want to safe the pangolin but in vain.
According to a 2017 study, at least 400,000
pangolins are hunted and consumed in Central Africa each year.

The
Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) is a conservation civil
society organization, which has proven to champion Conservation in Cameroon for
over 20 years and won the Whitely
Fund for Nature
Award for conserving critically
endangered Cross River Gorillas. With the pangolin in peril, ERuDeF is willing
to extend her sphere of influence beyond primates especially Great Apes to this
specie. While conservation of pangolins in Bertoua especially around the
periphery where these animals are caught like the Deng Deng National Park and
the Dja Reserve is challenging, ERuDeF Still remains determined and trust its
strategies to curb the killing of these species, while providing solutions to
the plight of the local people.

The Nlonako Mountain area as well, which hosts two (the White
and Black bellied Pangolin) out of the four species found in Africa are
threatened by intensive hunting, destruction of habitat for agriculture and the
use of pesticides. They are eaten as bush meat and the scales are used in
traditional medicine or for trade. This illegal trade takes place despite
prohibitions under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). A lack of awareness and information along
with insufficient political pressure makes tackling the black-market trade more
challenging.

In
this light, the Environment and Rural Development foundation, ERuDeF is
soliciting aid from Partners in extending her activities towards the
conservation of pangolin in the East Region of Cameroon by engaging in
aggressive sensitization campaigns, provision of alternative source of
livelihood to hunters (through training in bees keeping and agroforestry) so
that the pressure on pangolin be reduced, making the conservation of pangolin
in the East Region a reality not more a hot midday summer dream.

While
government and NGOs focused themselves in protecting pangolins, hunters and
many traders and traffickers have seen pangolins conservation as threats to
their source of protein and deprivation of income from the sale of the smoked
pangolin and scales which are used for medicinal purposes. Local consumers say
pangolins have a unique taste and which is unavoidable to someone who has ever
had a taste of it. This makes pangolins more vulnerable to hunters despite
attempts to protect them.

If one may want to put it straight, taking statistics from the consumption of pangolin in Bertoua, one will undoubtedly agree there is still an encouraging number of Pangolins in the East Region but the population is declining drastically. The IUCN states Pangolins as endangered species, there is therefore urgent need to put a stop to the pangolin syndrome in the East through the reinforcement of laws on wildlife protection and effective follow up by the Regional Delegation of Forestry and wildlife (MINFOF).

Thus,
this fight to protect Cameroon pangolins is enduring and so, ERuDeF remains
open and optimistic that with the support of the Cameroon government and other
national and international nature conservation organizations the dream of
pangolin survival shall become a reality.

“Together,
let us protect the pangolin”

The Mount Bamboutos Fons’ Association gains Legal Status

The Mount Bamboutos Fons’ Association (MBFA) has gained its legal status. This was early January 2021 after receiving the declaration certificate from the Senior Divisional Officer of Bamboutos in Mbouda. The news which came as a breakthrough from the president of the Association, His Majesty Senator Fon Lekunze Andreas Nembo of Bamumbu, was received with a lot of effervescence by the members of the Association. The Association which constitute all the paramount chiefs of the chiefdoms in Mount Bamboutos was initiated on 19th of April 2018 during a meeting held in Bafoussam with some paramount chiefs and sub-chiefs around mount Bamboutos. The creation process was facilitated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), with financial support from the French Global Fund for Environment – Small Grants Programme (FFEM-PP1) through the International Union for Nature Conservation – French Committee.

“I am
very happy that after close to three years we are able to legalise MBFA. This marks
a turning point in the life the Mount Bamboutos Initiative. We shall speak now
in a much louder voice” the president of Mont Bamboutos Fons’ Association, Fon
Lekunze said.

The CEO and President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi on his part could holdn’t his joy after receiving the news. Hear him “MBFA is a very important body as far as the Mount Bamboutos Initiative is concerned. Since we started the implementation of Mt. Bamboutos Initiative in 2018, fons have played a vital role. The acceptability rate of the project is high thanks to the efforts made by these fons. Am very happy receiving the news of the creation of the MBFA”

MBFA is a non-profit community-based association
whose members are to work in accordance to the LAW No. 20/053 of December 1990 on the liberty of
Association in Cameroon.

The
goal of this association is to ensure effective grassroots participation and
involvement in the sustainable management of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem
through a “bottom-up” approach.

The objectives of MBFA are:

  1. To contribute towards sustainable land use
    management in the Mt. Bambouotos landscape by taking and implementing concrete
    decisions;
  2. To lobby and influence the government of Cameroon
    to invest in the sustainable management of the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem;
  3. To ensure transparency and accountability in the
    management of financial and material resources for the sustainable management
    of natural resources in the Mt. Bamboutos ecosystem.
  4. To collaborate with the government of Cameroon
    and local/international non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the development
    and implementation of projects for the wellbeing of the rural population living
    around the Mt. Bamboutos area. 

The Association is constituted of paramount rulers of the following chiefdoms that surrounds the Bamboutos mountains: Bafou, Bangang, Babadjou and Fongo-Tongo (in the West Region); Bamumbu, M’muock Fossimondi and M’muockmbie (in the Southwest Region); Pinyin, Menka, Buchi, Ashong and Guzong (in the Northwest).

The
legalization of MBFA will give it more impetus to champion the fight for the
restoration of the severely degraded mount Bamboutos ecosystem. It should be
noted that even when the Association was not yet legalized, the members have
played very vital role in the success of the pilot phase of the Mount Bamboutos
Initiative, serving as entry points to local communities and taking vital
management decisions.

End the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon

On the 24th of October 2020, 7 school children of Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy, Kumba were killed by alleged militias fighting to restore the independence of Anglophone Cameroon. This brutal killing did not only signal a bad twist in the unfolding of the Anglophone crisis but an urgent need to end the crisis by all means.  The Kumba Massacre is just one of the many brutal killings that have taken place in Anglophone Cameroon since the Anglophone Crisis started back in 2016.

Before the Kumba massacre, at least 13civilians were killed in a village called Ngarbuh, Northwest Region of Cameroon on the 14th of February 2020. After investigations, it was established that the killings were perpetrated by the Cameroon military. The casualties keep pilling, with no one having the slightest idea of when the crisis will end.

Following the Kumba Massacre, The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) organized a press conference on the 30th of October 2020 to make her position known with regards to the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon. ERuDeF also used the occasion to sympathize with families of the victims of the brutal killings in Kumba. Black Friday campaigns was equally instituted by ERuDeF to mourn all the victims of the Anglophone crisis.

ERuDef staff mourn victims of Kumba Massacre

Civilians, especially women and children continue to pay the ultimate price as the 4-year long conflict continues to escalate. The UNHCR says there are over 60.000 Anglophone Cameroonians living in Nigeria as refugees. About 3000 have lost their lives and some have sort for refuge in bushes, living under horrible conditions. UNICEF reports that at least 600,000 children of school going age in Anglophone Cameroon are out of school as a result of the crisis. These figures are not only disturbing but make us to wonder what the future hold for these kids who are out of school as a result of a conflict they didn’t even start.

The President/CEO of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi is quoted as saying “I think this is the time for our leaders to stand up and say enough is enough; not by using a military solution, not by making speeches but by sitting on the table and talking with those who are involved” Indeed it is only through dialogue that the crisis rocking Anglophone Cameroon can die a natural death.

Louis Nkembi, President/CEO

We at ERuDeF are very concerned given the consequences this crisis has on the biodiversity of Anglophone Cameroon. Since the outbreak of the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon, key biodiversity hotspots and protected areas have been besieged by both the Anglophone Separatist fighters and regular state forces. It is estimated that over 14 biodiversity hotspots and protected areas have been greatly affected with the day to day worsening of the crisis. Affected areas range from the Kimbi Fungom National Park, Kom-Wum Reserve, Oku Plantlife Sanctuary, Kwagwane Gorilla Sanctuary through the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, Njoajwi- Fotabong III Essoh Attah Wildlife Sanctuary, Banya-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, to the Korup National Park and Mt. Cameroon National Park. Beside the armed groups and the regular state forces, over 35000 IDPs have found refuge inside these secured biodiversity areas thus forcing the state rangers to relocate to the urban areas

With the unfortunate unfolding of this rather prolonged crisis, we at ERuDeF calls the government of Cameroon to call for a more inclusive dialogue to end the crisis once and for all. This call does not however undermine the efforts made by the government of Cameroon to end the crisis. We reiterate that the military solution will never end the crisis. Killings, kidnappings, torture only helps to escalate the crisis.  #endthekidnappings   #endthekillings #endthewar

Cameroon’s Endemic Bannerman’s Turaco population in steady Decline

Cameroon prides itself as one of the countries in Africa with the highest number of bird species. With close to about 1000 bird species, Cameroon’s bird’s population has been facing an array of threats ranging from habitat loss to hunting and many more. One of the species that makes Cameroon unique when it comes to birds in Africa is the Bannerman’s turaco.

Bannerman’s turaco

The Bannerman’s turaco (Tauraco bannermani) is a species of bird in the Musophagidae family. This species is endemic to the Bamenda Highlands, North West Cameroon. The Bannerman’s turaco was the last turaco species to be discovered in 1923. Small populations of the Bannerman’s turaco have been recorded in Mt Mbam, Mt Bamboutos and at Fossimondi and Fomenji in the South-West region of Cameroon. They are known to inhabit subtropical or tropical moist mountain forests, between altitudes of 1,700m to 2,950m. They are strictly arboreal (spending the majority of their lives in trees), feeding on the fruits and sometimes on leaves, buds and flowers. The population this emblematic species is estimated to be just 1,500-7,000 mature individuals, mainly restricted to the Bamenda Highland forest, with another small share in the west and south west regions of Cameroon. This turaco has a distinctive red crest, yellow bill and green, red, blue and yellow plumage. However, as it is almost exclusively arboreal (tree living); staying up in the canopy, the species is usually identified by its call which can be heard from as far as a kilometre away. Bannerman’s Turaco shares its genus with 13 other species that are collectively known as the ‘typical’ or green turacos. These birds are unique in the avian world for actually producing green pigment. The green colouration of other bird species occurs due to the microscopic structure of the feathers. It spends its time foraging for fruit and berries in the canopies of the tropical montane forest of Cameroon. The Kilum-Ijim Forest in the Bamenda Highlands is one of the last remaining strongholds for the Bannerman’s Turaco. Even though this emblematic species is peculiar to the Bamenda Highlands, the CEO/President of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi says the Lebiabiam Highlands has a great number of Bannerman’s turaco population. Hear him “The Barnnaman’s turaco previously thought to be limited to the Bamenda Highlands was recorded in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and across the caldera of the Mount Bamboutos, part of the Lebialem Highlands. The Bannerman’s turaco is greatly threatened and if quick conservation efforts are not put in place, this species will be extinct in the no distant future”

 The greatest threat to the species in its range habitat is habitat loss. Habitat loss in this area is mostly caused by agriculture, forest fires, logging and firewood collection and grazing of domestic animals. The Bannerman’s turaco is hunted for its feathers because of its cultural significance to the indigenous population. The Kilum-Ijim forest remains firm but forest losses still occur due to wildfires, collection of firewood, timber cutting for wood carvings, livestock grazing, and bee keeping. Population growth in villages surrounding the forest has doubled (at least) since the Kilum-Ijim Forest was established, leading to increased pressure on the forest for livelihoods and subsistence uses. Advocating for change in these areas by raising awareness of locals and hunters on the dangers of hunting the Tauraco bannermani for its red feather. Educating them on the conservation needs will help curb the threats to the species and increase in chances of survival.