Have you ever visited an elephant graveyard?
There is a rhinometer in the local newspaper. It tracks the number of rhinos killed. It is the kind of thermometer you see when people are fundraising, where you want the red to reach the top, signifying your fundraising target. Yet with the rhinometer the red symbolizes the blood of rhinos, you pray it does not keep rising.
More than five years ago, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) began our Conservation Lease program, with the goal of protecting land for wildlife while also maintaining considering interest of the communities that own the land. Most recently, AWF signed more than 500 new leases with the local Maasai community to protect more than 5,000 acres of critical wildlife habitat.
We are in northern Cameroon, Boubba’ndjidda, National Park to be exact. We are close to the border of Chad. Boubba’ndjidda connects to Sena Oura National Park. We are on a scoping mission, assessing conservation opportunities with the hopes of being able to provide support to the management and protection of the Binational Sena Bouba (BSB) Yamoussa Complex in coordination with the Governments, Wildlife Authorities and partners.
It’s Sunday. Today is CIFOR’s (Centre for International Forestry Research) Forest Day. 1200 people are gathering to discuss the value and future of forests. The focus is global, but the fact that the COP 17 is in South Africa is a great opportunity to highlight the major plight of Africa’s forests. AWF President Helen Gichohi is giving the keynote address.