[one_third][/one_third]Some 13 hunters from villages around the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary have promised to drop their guns and collaborate with the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) in conserving wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot.
They made the promise at the end of a two day capacity building training workshop, which took place at the ERuDeF’s Western Cameroon Regional Office in Menji, 15th to 16th of September 2016.
Aimed at building the capacity of hunters to become local rangers, these wildlife predators were trained on wildlife data collection, writing of field reports and the use of forest surveillance equipments such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and compasses.
At the end of the workshop, participants expressed satisfaction with the skills acquired while committing themselves to conserve the biodiversity of the area.
“I am satisfied with the training and the lessons I have learnt. There are some animals in our forest that we need to protect and the reason that I am here is to acquire the skills to enable me contribute to the conservation of these wildlife species,” said Mr. Marcelust Lepasha, a hunter from Fonki Village.
[one_half][/one_half]Mr. Marcelus, just like the other hunters, promised to report all illegal activities in their area to the Lebialem Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for appropriate actions.
All 13 hunters at the workshop, promised to stop hunting, pledging to sensitise other hunting colleagues on the need to protect wildlife species in the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.
Six of the participants were selected, after a post-workshop evaluation test, to serve as biomonitors in the proposed Wildlife Sanctuary.
The workshop was organised by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) with support from Rainforest Trust-USA as a step towards limiting human pressure on the Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, which is host to over 300 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees (Pantroglodytes ellioti), still unknown population of Cross River Gorillas and Drills and over 100 endangered African Forest Elephants (Loxondata cyclotis).
By Enokenwa Allen Tabi