The Technical Committee charged with following up the elaboration of the Management Plan of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, has adopted the first draft of the Management Plan dubbed ‘Draft Zero’.
This draft was adopted last February 19, 2018 during the second technical committee meeting in Mbalmayo. Chaired by the Director of Wildlife and Protected Areas (DFAP) in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Joseph Lekealem, this second meeting sought to review the implementation of the recommendations of the first Technical Committee meeting, which took place last August 2017, in Buea. It was also organised to review the proposed Draft Management Plan, prepare the consultations and validations processes as well as update the roadmap for the elaboration of the management plan of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.
In his introductory note, the President/Chief Executive Officer of the organisation facilitating the management plan elaboration process, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi, thanked all stakeholders for their sacrifice and input in the elaboration process so far. Mr. Nkembi said he is anticipating that the entire elaboration process will be over by the close of June, 2018. The ERuDeF boss implored the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) to collaborate and put in all it takes for the realisation of this goal in a timely fashion.
On his part, MINFOF’s Director of Wildlife and Protected Areas, Mr. Joseph Lekealem, in his key note address, underscored the importance of the management plan elaboration in the conservation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. “The work we are carry out here today is very important for the conservation and the sustainable management of this protected area, which is one of the newest protected area, small in size but very important and big in term of species composition. It is a Sanctuary with gorilla as its flagship species, a species, which moves even across to Nigerian as studies have indicated. So the elaboration of this plan is a very important initiative for us to conserve this gorilla and also look for a way to create a corridor linking this protected area and other parts of Cameroon right up to Nigeria,” he explained.
The Director of Wildlife and Protected Areas affirmed the commitment of his Ministry to ensure that the final management plan is validated by June, 2018. He accentuated the need for resources to be mobilised so the time line can be realised with ease.
The key note address paved the way for technical presentations and deliberations by the Technical Committee, which culminated in the adoption of the first draft management plan for Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. It was however recommended that the scientific names of ethno-botanic species and vernacular names of animals identified be included; that the migratory corridors be portrayed on the landscape map showing the connectivity of different land uses in the area; and that the zoning map be improved on to show the different zones and the distribution of biological resources. Meanwhile the facilitating organisation was implored to produce report of updated socio-economic studies, wildlife surveys carried out during the preliminary phase.
The Technical Committee members also use the meeting to update a roadmap to guide the elaboration process of the management plan of Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and its peripheral zone was also updated.
The Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is one of Cameroon’s newest protected areas created in 2014 by a Prime Ministerial Decree for the conservation of some close to 40 Cross River Gorillas, over 150 Nigerian Cameroon Chimpanzees, unknown population Drills and other biodiversity species. Last August 2017, the Cameroon Government through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), constituted a Technical Committee, which has been engaged in the development of a management plan for this protected area.