Community members around the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Division, Southwest Cameroon are increasingly desisting from their rudimentary practices of farming within the protected area. Community members, who have desisted from this conservation threat, attributed the move to incessant sensitization and conservation education carried out by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).
“I have been farming in this forest for several years now until some people from ERuDeF came and told us that farming in the forest and burning the area is not good because it destroys the area which has animals like Chimpanzees. They also gave us a newspaper (The Green Vision) which we also read about the disadvantages of our action. Some of us have left the farms in this forest already” Mrs Benson Atabong, a Bechati based farmer testified.
In a similar vein, Mathew Kelefack, who has been a notorious wildlife trafficker said he has desisted from hunting species like Chimpanzees, thanks to the sensitization from ERuDeF on the status of different species and legal implications of killing them. Mr. Kelefack,just like Mrs Atabong, however expressed the need for alternative livelihood supports so they can completely turn their attention away from this biodiversity hot spot.
The Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Cameroon’s newest protected area created in 2014 in the Lebialem Division by a Prime Ministerial Decree, with the facilitation of ERuDeF for the conservation of some close to 40 Cross River Gorilla, over 150 Nigerian Cameroon Chimpanzees, unknown population Drills and other biodiversity species. Education for Sustainable Development is one of the key strategies of ERuDeF for the sustainable management of this protected area.