The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), and the African Conservation Foundation (ACF) have approved a new national conservation programme for biodiversity management in Cameroon.

In a strategic meeting held, Monday November 27 2017, the two organisations analysed conservation challenges in Cameroon, identified gaps, and mapped out conservation landscape in Cameroon.

These landscapes include the Lebialem Highlands, Tchabal Mbabo Mountains, Eastern Regional Conservation Landscape, Northwest Conservation landscape for the next 15 years.

In the Eastern Regional Conservation Landscape, conservation efforts will initially be concentrated in Deng Deng National Park, the proposed Deng Deng-Dja Corridor, and the proposed Deng Deng-Mbam et Djerem, Mpem et Djem National Parks. ERuDeF and ACF will develop a corridor to connect populations of gorillas, chimpanzees, elephants and other key species, between the Deng Deng National Park and the Dja reserve.

The successful realisation of this conservation plan will contribute to the conservation of close to 700 Western Lowland Gorilla, central chimpanzees, and other threatened species including, elephant, hippopotamus, Giant pangolin, Yellow backed duiker. It will also protect the habitat of over 1200 plant species and 429 bird species.

In the Tchabal Mbabo Mountains, ERuDeF and ACF will provide the necessary advocacy for the gazetting of the proposed Tchabal Mbabo National Park. Moreover, efforts will also be centred on the realisation of the Proposed Ngasaki Ngumti National Park-Tchabal Mbabo transfrontalier programme. The realisation of the conservation agenda of this site will aid in the conservation of some key species like the endangered Nigeria-Cameroon (Elliot’s) chimpanzee, leopard, the Adamawa mountain reedbuck, hippopotamus, several species of duiker, pangolins, and over 500 bird species.

In the Northwest Conservation landscape, ERuDeF and ACF will advocate for the gazettement of the proposed Essimbi-Beba-Befang wildlife sanctuary. In addition, the partners will work towards ensuring the development of a management plan for this site alongside that of Kimbi Fungom National Park. Other key tasks within these sites include livelihood and economic development, eco-tourism, and park infrastructural development. Through these efforts, some 81 wildlife species including the endangered Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzee, giant pangolin, and butterflies will be conserved.

For the Lebialem Highlands, efforts will be centred on advancing conservation development in the Lebialem Highlands with focus on the development and implementation of a management plan for the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mount Bamboutos. In addition, the two organisations will continue to support the management of the corridor linking the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Takamanda National Park. These interventions will contribute to the conservation of over 600 Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, 60 Cross River gorillas, over 100 Forest elephants, Drills, amongst others and an unknown number of plant, reptile, and amphibian species, as well as globally threatened bird species

Speaking during the strategic meeting, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi, indicated that the conservation programme is of prime importance. According to him, an approved national programme is imperative for increasing the visibility of ERuDeF and ACF.

 “We have to be cautious not to be over ambitious and forget about the bigger picture. We must strive to consolidate the landmark gains already in place, while extending our programme to other areas of need. Building a solid foundation is paramount in building an international consultancy, hence, achieving our earmarked objectives,” Louis Nkembi said.

The Director of the African Conservation Foundation (ACF), Arend de Haas, indicated that his organisation would provide all technical support in achieving the approved programme. His organisation will also provide the necessary support to empower and build the capacity of the communities adjacent to the areas.

In the meantime, the education specialist from ACF, Katharina Thelon indicated that she would develop a comprehensive education for sustainable development programme that would be linked to other African Countries such as Burkina Faso, etc.

The Director of Development and Philanthropy at ERuDeF, Philip Tem, spelled out a fundraising strategy for the attainment of the conservation goals. He indicated that a holistic approach would be used to achieve the national conservation programme.

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