This week, the Cameroon Youth Biodiversity Network officially kickstarted its preliminary discussions on the Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework and the country's second National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan. The group of 20 young influencers from various sectors in Cameroon were set to meet in March, but with the novel pandemic, the team had to reschedule. This extra time has enabled them to review the 10-year Biodiversity Implementation Strategy and evaluate if the document has factored in sustainable practices that will curb future pandemics.
On a Saturday morning in early May, a group of women gathered in an open field in Kabilone II village adjacent to the Dja Faunal Reserve in south-eastern Cameroon. They patiently waited their turn as a government representative from the reserve’s Conservation Service handed over face masks and bars of soap for the women to distribute and use within their communities.
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Untapped tourism potential
With its accessibility to Cameroon’s capital city, as well as its proximity to white-sand beaches, Campo Ma’an National Park is ripe with tourism potential. This forested park boasts a variety of species, including the forest elephant, pangolin and leopard. It is also among the few places in Africa where gorillas and chimpanzees coexist—an alluring characteristic for wildlife enthusiasts.
Faro National Park under threat.
In February 2012, heavily armed poaching gangs from Sudan massacred more than 50% of the elephants in northern Cameroon’s Bouba N’djida National Park. While Faro National Park avoided the elephant massacre, financial and technical shortfalls—not to mention its location near the border of Nigeria—make this park extremely vulnerable to poachers and habitat destruction.
All of Africa’s great ape species are either endangered or critically endangered.
Africa is home to four of the world’s five great apes: the bonobo, chimpanzee, and two species of gorilla—the eastern and western. Unfortunately, all of these apes are facing extinction due to a number of threats, including habitat destruction and fragmentation, poaching, the risk of disease transfer from humans, and the pet trade.
You finish your last meeting in a nearby town at 4 p.m. You are tired and ready to head home. You have made this trip many times before and know it takes exactly three hours. After all, yours is usually the only car on the road, so traffic jams are not a consideration.
You get in beside your driver, crank up the music, and set off. Your visitors that evening are also en route, but they are much closer to your house than you. They will arrive before you but that does not worry you — being old friends and colleagues, there will be lots of time to catch up.
Rich biodiversity earned it the nickname “Africa in miniature.”
Cameroon has often been called “Africa in miniature” for how much it mirrors the continent’s diversity. Like the continent it calls home, Cameroon boasts a coastline, mountains, savanna, desert, and tropical rainforests.
Florence Louma is a happy woman. During the last cocoa harvest in early 2019, she made a profit of over USD $1,700, making her the top-earning female cocoa farmer in Kagnnole village, Somalomo, at the border of Dja Faunal Reserve in eastern Cameroon.