ERuDeF to create the Lebialem Highlands Cooperative Union

To advance the conservation program of the Lebialem Highlands, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) Plans to create a cooperative Union to help generate households’ income. Most communities in the area had cooperative societies created to help generate households’ income, but the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon has slowed down the functioning of these primary societies.

Conservation activities in Lebialem Highlands have been completely halted due to the Anglophone crisis. This crisis has chased out government management authorities of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife.

ERuDeF in an effort of attaining her goal for the conservation of great apes and building an effective movement of institutions and leadership to address current and emerging threats to great apes’ conservation started developing a holistic, collaborative and long term sustainable approach through the growth of a multi-actor approach from community level through government to international levels.

Through the SUFACHAC Project with goal to promote sustainable farming and critical habitat conservation to achieve biodiversity mainstreaming and effective protected areas management in Western Cameroon, ERuDeF is seeking for funding to support the creation of this cooperative Union.

Most communities in the Lebialem Highlands are highly affected by the Anglophone Crisis leading to massive destruction of properties and home, thus forcing them to flee to the forest for shelter in search for livelihoods and to protect themselves from both separatist fighters and the state arm force. This has caused emerging threats to biodiversity in the area and hence an urgent action needs to be taken to address these current and emerging threats. ERuDeF has put forward four realistic objectives to help the communities and reduce the immense threats posed on the biodiversity in the area

The Lebialem Highlands is located on the mountainous northeastern part of Cameroon’s South West Region. It is bordered to the East by West Region, South and South West by the Banyang – Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary (BMWS) and North by Momo Division in the North West Region. Lebialem Highlands is a global biodiversity hotspot. The Highlands’ dense, lush rainforests have been blessed withfour flagship species, three of them primates: the Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla (Gorilla gorilla deilhi) of which less than 300 remain in the wild; the Endangered Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes ellioti), the most threatened of chimp subspecies likely numbering fewer than 6,000 individuals; the drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus); Preuss’s guenon (Cercopithecuspreussi) as well as the Vulnerable African forest elephant (Loxodontacyclotis) as reported in Ekinde& Khumbah 2006, Nkembi et al. 2006 and IUCN 2009.

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