Gray countries with texture denote areas of future engagement.
Wildlife knows no boundaries. So AWF has defined areas across the continent that are critical to conservation. These Priority Landscapes can cover public and private lands alike and often cross borders.
344,249 hectares (1,329 sq. mi.)
The foundation of the Faro landscape in Northern Cameroon is Faro National Park, located close to the Nigerian border. In addition to hosting the largest population of hippos in Cameroon, Faro National Park is home to elephants, black rhinos, cheetahs, hyenas, and other wildlife. This landscape is largely savanna, and the climate can be extreme. A combination of heat during the day and limited water points in the park can make for a challenging environment for both wildlife and people.
In February 2012, heavily armed poaching gangs from Sudan invaded Bouba N’djida National Park, also located in Cameroon’s North Province, and slaughtered 50% of the park’s elephants. Faro National Park, like Bouba N’djida, is located alongside a border, making it easily accessible to poachers.
Furthermore, financial and technical shortfalls in park protection make Faro extremely vulnerable to poachers, livestock, and habitat destruction. In recent years, the park has experienced intrusion by pastoralists with cattle from Nigeria, Niger, Mali, and inside Cameroon, who destroy habitat and poison carnivores.
Parks like Faro—where park authorities and rangers can be outmatched and overwhelmed—are easy targets for poachers. However, the demand for ivory is so high, the rewards so lucrative, and the risk of getting caught and punished so low, that poachers will risk poaching operations in even well-protected areas. As long as there is a demand for ivory, poachers will find a way.
Our solutions to the challenges in the Faro landscape:
African Wildlife Foundation is working with Cameroon’s park authority to enhance the protection of the country’s most vulnerable parks, starting with Faro. AWF is lending support to counter-poaching park rangers in Faro and building a contingent of community scouts on the park’s borders to provide a needed buffer between outsiders and the park.
Rangers and scouts will also work to stop outsiders, especially pastoralists, from encroaching on the park. In the meantime, a longer-term plan will be put in place to better manage and monitor Faro.
AWF is supplementing the extraordinary dedication of Faro National Park’s village and park guards with much-needed equipment, from compasses and sleeping bags to binoculars and computer technology. Climate conditions in the park can be extreme during both night and day, and rangers often don’t have even the most basic equipment to allow for regular and overnight patrolling. Outfitting the park’s protectors with the appropriate tools can help make their job easier, more efficient, and more effective.
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