The United States Executive Director of UK Charity, Tusk Trust, Ms Meredith Ogilvie- Thompson, has re-iterated the need to protect and preserve one of world’s most endangered great ape, the Cross River Gorilla in Cameroon. Ms Thompson was speaking on Friday 1st of March, in Buea, SW Cameroon, at the start of her one-week tour of the Cross River Gorilla Project in the Lebialem Highlands manned by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF. She said even though Tusk was visiting the Cameroon Cross River Gorilla Project for the first time, Tusk was very proud with the work that is being done. “We at Tusk have been very proud to support the work that has been done on the Cross River Gorilla and other threatened species in Cameroon and are very pleased to make this very first visit. I hope that by coming to Cameroon and understanding what is going on, Tusk would become more engaged and it would help to strengthen the collaboration between Tusk and ERuDeF”
Ms Thompson explained that one of the things that Tusk finds so important in terms of achieving conservation is education and community development. “To see how the community is able to understand the work ERuDeF is doing and how they support the work is a top priority for us.” Ms Thompson explained that by coming to Cameroon and having hands on experience, her hope is to see how the local people are involved in conservation and to understand the extent to which environmental education can help especially young people understand why it is important to preserve their natural heritage.
“Tusk is really is interested in supporting the Cross River Gorilla program because this particular sub species of Gorillas are the most endangered in the world and they need to be protected and preserved. We feel that in order to achieve this, we need to support community and education. We are looking to see how to work with local organizations like ERuDeF to improve on the people’s livelihoods and educate them so they would in turn preserve these rare species because the biggest goal is keeping the Gorillas safe” she went on.
Ms Thompson will be in Cameroon for one week. During this time, she would have the possibility of monitoring these species in the proposed Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to over 40 critically Cross River Gorillas and 200 Cameroon-Nigeria Chimpanzees.
Tusk Trust it would be recalled is a 21- year old UK headquartered charity dedicated to protecting wildlife, supporting communities and promoting education across Africa. Tusk supports over 45 projects in over 20 African Countries.
By Regina Fonjia Leke