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07 April 2017

ERuDeF Officially Launches New Branch In UK

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ERuDeF Officially Launches New Branch In UK

The President and Chief Executive of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Louis Nkembi, wishes to inform all his partners, friends of ERuDeF, sympathisers, members and staff of the Organisation of the official launching of ERuDeF-UK. The grandeur occasion took place on March 18, 2017 in Newcastle, United Kingdom at the University of Newcastle.

The ceremony was attended by over 200 people from across the UK and abroad. Featuring in the launching, were speeches from the ERuDeF-UK chairperson, Dr John Michael Daniels, President and Chief Executive officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, Representative of Women and Trustee, Lucia Nkembi. West African folklore dances, Cameroon dances and songs, a ballroom dance, and auction sales, also spiced the occasion. On March 19, 2017, students of the Department of Biological Sciences received lectures from the ERuDeF team, before the pioneer ERuDeF-UK Board of Trustees meeting was held.

The first major projects that launched immediately are; the construction of the Research and Ecotourism Centre in Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Besali, the women and education project, and the management of Cross River Gorilla in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. A five year strategy plan will be completed in the months ahead.

Louis Nkembi is very excited with this new milestone achieved and heartily congratulates all those who have made this possible, especially the UK team led by John Daniels and Kellie Daniels and the Cameroon team led by Louis Nkembi and the Chief Operating Officer at ERuDeF, Ms Ursula Nkeng.

Additional information could be obtained from .

How It All Started

On February 1, 2013, one John Michael Daniels arrived Cameroon to visit ERuDeF. John Daniels, a retired teacher turned conservationist decided to embark on a one month long trip in Africa to study the Cross River gorillas in then proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands.

John Daniels joined the ERuDeF conservation team as an international volunteer with the full support of his wife Anne. Staying at the foot of Tofala Hill, John Daniels studie1d the socio-ecology of the Cross River gorillas. This study led him to develop very strong ties with the critically endangered African Primates. Besides that, he also studied the biodiversity and abundance of butterflies of Tofala.

This led to the publication of the first book on butterflies of Tofala Hill by John Daniels in 2015. John Daniels is one of the 72 key persons who wrote to the prime minister in 2013 urging the Cameroon government to quicken the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014.

In 2015, with my visit to UK, John Daniels and I formally resolved to create the ERuDeF UK branch with base in Newcastle. Since 2015 till date, both the President and Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF and John Daniels have been working on the UK project, which culminated in the election of the ERuDeF UK committee in October 2016 and its official launching in March 2017.

The launching of the ERuDeF UK with John Daniels as its pioneer chairperson marks the first major milestone in the international development of ERuDeF.

John Daniels joined the international volunteering Programme that is part of the joint partnership between the African conservation Foundation and ERuDeF.

ERuDeF’s team of scientists first discovered a sub population of cross river gorillas in 2004 and since then Tofala has been the centre of conservation science, research and advocacy. This resulted in the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in 2014.

07 April 2017

ERuDeF Pays Last Respect To Vice President

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ERuDeF Pays Last Respect To Vice President

It was a lamentation Saturday March 4, 2017, when the Environment and Rural Development (ERuDeF) family, flanged by a cross section of mourners and well-wishers thronged Babong-Bamumbu Village, Wabane, Lebialem Division of the Southwest Region, to pay last homage to the Organisation’s Vice President, Leku Francis Azenaku.

The massively attended funeral ceremony brought Babong-Bamumbu to a literal halt with all routes leading to the deceased compound. Also in attendance, was a high level delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, headed by Minister Henri Eyebe Ayissi.

The ERuDeF delegation headed by the Senior Director of Administration and Human Resources, Charles Tangie, and Director of Programmes and Planning, George Nkemka, paid their last respect to the deceased with condolence messages to the mourning family.

Speaking on behalf of ERuDeF to the family of late Francis Leku, delegation head, Charles Tangie said the deceased was an active and lucrative member of ERuDeF until his death. According to him, serving an organisation for over seventeen years since its creation as Vice President, late Francis Leku, contributed enormously to the growth of ERuDeF.

He apologised for the unavoidable absence of ERuDeF President and Chief Executive Officer, Louis Nkembi, and Chairperson of Board of Directors, Akemka Eric. Some gift donations in cash and kind, were handed the family of Menkemakeu on behalf of ERuDeF by the delegation.

Besides ERuDeF, Late Francis Leku served as Director of Regulations and Quality Control (DRCQ) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MINADER), a position he held until death.

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry, the Secretary General, Mr Mvondo Na’a Patrick, said the death of Francis Leku came as a shock to the MINADER family, as he was very active even to the point of death. He described the deceased as being an exceptional staff and collaborator. Competent, productive, and result oriented. Another collaborator, Doh Bertha Bakata, Special Adviser at the Prime Minister’s Office, said the late Francis Leku was an asset to the Southwest Region. She said the deceased played a pivotal role in the socioeconomic development of the Bakassi Peninsula, especially in the field of Agriculture.

Late Francis Leku who died at the age of 48, held a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering, and Masters in Water Resources Management. Besides his professional career, the deceased held a top most recognised title in his village. He was popularly known to his people as His Royal Highness, Chief Fossung. He leaves behind a wife, Irene Leku Akem, and five children.

By Yanick Fonki Ndeley

01 March 2017

Communities Use Forest Watcher To Detect Deforestation In Upper Bayang

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 Communities Use Forest Watcher To Detect Deforestation In Upper Bayang

Forest Watcher is the Global Forest Watch (GFW)’s application, which helps in the determination of the cause(s) and intensity of deforestation and degradation. The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), with the support of GFW, recently installed this app in smart phones of community members in the Upper Bayang Subdivision. With the application installed, community members were able to determine the exact cause and intensity of deforestation and forest degradation in and around their community forests.

The application accurately directed the local community members to deforestation and forest degradation sites by indicating the exact distances and directions of the sites.

Meticulously, following the direction indicated by the Application in the smart phones, community members during the forest monitoring process were able to locate different deforestation and degradation sites in their community forest area and identify the cause of the deforestation or forest degradation.

Agriculture for instance was reported as the principal cause of deforestation and forest degradation in some seven communities in Upper Bayang sub-division after a community-led forest monitoring process carried out by some community members in Etoko, Chinda, Kendem, Egbemo, Bakumba and Ayukaba.

During the monitoring process, 51 deforestation/forest degradation sites were recorded. Out of the 51 deforestation sites validated, 41 (80.39%) were reported to be caused by agricultural activities that is farms and plantations. It was also noted that, most of the farms are dominated by palms and cocoa. In addition, 4 (7.84%) deforestation sites were reported to be caused by bush fire, 3 (5.88 %) due to logging and 3 (5.88 %) others as a result of human settlement.

These data is not only important to community members, but to the forestry administration, environment/conservation NGOs and GFW. It will help community members, the forestry administration and environment/conservation NGOs to take informed decisions as concerns the sustainable management of the forest land.

Transferred on the participative 3 dimensional model (P3DM) map, it will serve as a platform to all stakeholders, for communication and management of the community forest land.

Given that remote sensed data does not actually give information about what is happening on the ground (the cause of deforestation), the data collected and validated by the local community members have helped upgrade GFW data by ground truthing.

While GFW uses satellite images as their eyes on the sky, the community members are thus serving as the eyes on the ground.

The Forest Watcher Application came within the framework of a project co-supported by Global Forest Watch aimed at providing long term conservation to the unique biodiversity of the tropical forest of Upper Bayang through a community and municipal collaborative management approach, involving the local communities, the municipal government and the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in the long-term management of this forest corridor.

By Deh Nji & Adeline Tengem

01 March 2017

Workplan for Development Of Tofala Management Plan Established

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 Workplan for Development Of Tofala Management Plan Established

A Workplan outlining activities that will speed-up the elaboration and validation of a Management Plan for the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) has been instituted. It was established, Saturday February 18, 2017 during a meeting grouping stakeholders charged with the setting up of ground works that will eventually see the institution of the plan. The stakeholders constituted socioeconomic and forest technocrats from the Southwest Delegation of the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF-SW) and the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF).

According to the Workplan, the technical team will carry out production of detailed mapping, micro-zoning, socioeconomic, cultural and scientific studies, as well as come out with the situational analysis of the sanctuary. All the studies will be submitted to MINFOF-SW, and ERuDeF. The studies will all be assembled and a draft management plan established. Thereafter, a letter of preparedness will be sent to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF). The months of March and April 2017, were set as deadlines for all the activities in the Workplan to be carried out.

During the meeting, participants were served with four presentations x-raying the socioeconomic, cultural and scientific potentials the sanctuary possesses. The presentations included a write-up on the administrative process and procedures for the development and elaboration of management plan in Cameroon, wildlife studies, sensitisation, and conservation education around local communities, in the Wildlife Sanctuary, socioeconomic studies in the Lebialem Hills complex, amongst others.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, the Southwest Chief of Wildlife and Protected areas, Mr Nono Joseph, called on the stakeholders charged with different functions in the Workplan to be assiduous, steadfast, and committed to the assignments. He expressed his readiness and that of his ministry to be at the forefront of every tasks that will eventually lead to the realisation of the Workplan. For her part, the Chief Operating Officer of ERuDeF, Mm Ursula Nkeng, stressed on all to respect the deadlines assigned so everything will go as planned. She indicated that the administration of ERuDeF will put all necessary resources together so the Workplan could be realised.

The meeting ended with all participants promising to work in their different field so by the end of March 2017, all technical activities must have been carried out.

By Yanick Fonki

01 March 2017

Discover Mt Bamboutos:

Posted in News, Views 805

Cameroon’s Key Watershed with High Biodiversity Near Extinction

Discover Mt Bamboutos:

Mount Bamboutos, which is part of the Cameroon Highlands Forest, represents a key watershed, supplying at least one third of water feeding the major hydro-power system in Cameroon at Edea. It is the second most important water tower (hydrological basin) in Cameroon, after the Adamawa Plateaux. The Mountain, which is the third highest peak in West Africa (2,740 metres high), after Mount Cameroon (4,100 metres high) and Mount Oku (3,100 metres high) respectively, gives rise to several rivers and lakes across the country including the Mbam and Mifi rivers. River Noun, which is the main source of the Bamendjin Dam and Lake Bambalang; River Manyu that drains into the Cross River, and Menoua that drains into Nkam and Wouri rivers, all stem from this mountain. It is also the principal source of drinking water for West, Southwest, Northwest, and part of Littoral Cameroon.

Designated by the Cameroon Government in 2009 as a proposed Integral Ecological Reserve, Mt Bamboutos constitutes part of the Cameroon Mountains Endemic Bird Area having a high degree of endemism and biodiversity. Some very important biodiversity species restricted to piedmont of this ecosystem include but limited to the primate Preuss' Monkey(Allochrocebus preussi preussi), Coopers Mountain Squirrel(Paraxerus cooperi), the Banded wattle-eye,(Platysteira laticincta) and Bannerman’s Turaco, (Tauraco bannermani) as well as green monkeys. Other species include the endangered Cross River gorillas (Gorilla gorilla diehli) and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglotes ellioti).

This ecosystem also plays host to viable populations of species from many taxa, especially insects, plants, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and many bird species most of which have not received any scientific studies.

Besides its biodiversity uniqueness, this mountain remains the only ecosystem in the country cutting across three administrative Regions including West, South West and North West, involving over 20 villages with a population of 20,000 to 30,000 people.

Most of these people depend on the mountain and its biodiversity content for their livelihoods; they practice slash-and-burn agriculture and clear the forest to make way for farmland leading to high rates of deforestation, destruction of water catchments, disappearance of fuelwood and loss in soil fertility. The Mt Bamboutos landscape today constitute the largest market gardening location in Cameroon.

For instance, the Mt Bamboutos that used to host a substantial population of Prunus Africana, has in under 20 years lost the totality of this population due to a very high unsustainable exploitation of the plant by both industrial companies and individuals.

The aftermath of these myopic anthropogenic activities was a landslide in 2003, which killed 20 persons displacing over 3000 and destroying livestock, farmlands and other valuable possessions worth over US$420.

Since 2003, there has been a number of interventions by both the Cameroon Government via its Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, and national NGOs including the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) and Africa Centre for Research in Renewable Energy (ARCREST), to save the biodiversity and ecosystem of this mountain.

For instance since 2007, MINFOF has in line with her National Reforestation Programme, supported the reforestation of the Bamboutos flank of the mountain through her Regional Delegation in Bafoussam, West Region.

Meanwhile, ERuDeF has since 2005 been carrying out various reforestation, conservation and natural resource management projects in this area. The organisation between 2009 and 2011 carried out a survey on the plants, birds and wildlife of Mount Bamboutos. In 2005, ERuDeF with support from the International Tree Foundation, reforested the Fomenji-Magha flank of the mountain with over 5,000 trees. This was followed by another tree planting programme in 2013 by the organisation with support from Lea Nature, which has seen the planting of over 25.000 trees still along the Fomenji-Magha flank of the mountain.

With support from the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme, Mane Foundation, Man & Nature and the French Embassy, ERuDeF has since 2012 been executing a pilot programme on the implementation of the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Initiative in Cameroon under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development (MINEPDED).

On her part, ACREST with the support of IUCN is supporting a small scale reforestation scheme on a section of the mountain from the Bamboutos Division, since 2004.

Since 2003, no major conservation development programme has been ongoing but for the conservation of the Cross River gorillas and the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees carried out by ERuDeF in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, created in 2014.

The efforts of the government and these NGOs are laudable but not aggressive enough to induce the rapid conservation and restoration needs of this emblematic mountain.

The restoration these 19,000 mountain ecosystem requires the planting of at least 15 million trees. This amounts to some CFA2.25 billion (US$3.750).

By Bertrand Shancho

01 March 2017


Posted in News, Views 816

ERuDeF Loses Vice President


Members and staff of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), woke up to the shocking news of the passing away of one of the Organisation’s Board of Trustees, members, Francis Leku Azenaku. He was reported dead Sunday February 12, 2017 at the Yaounde University Teaching hospital, after suffering from a brief illness.

The workaholic board member who doubles as the Director of Regulation and Quality Control of Inputs and Agricultural Products in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has served in ERuDeF’s Board of Trustees since 1999, when the Organisation was founded. Prior to his death, he served as the Vice President of the ERuDeF.

News of his passing took many by surprise especially as he was very active even at the point of death. Many describe him as a calm, soft spoken, gentlemen from Wabane, Lebialem Division of Southwest Cameroon.

According to the President and Chief Executive officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, Francis Leku, has contributed greatly to the growth of the Organisation. With a subtle tone and lamentation of the heart, the ERuDeF boss said the decease shall be highly missed by the Organisation.

“He has greatly contributed to the growth of the organization since its inception. We seriously cry and regret his loss… His demise has created a huge vacuum in our hearts. We will forever remember him…Adieu colleague,” Mr. Nkembi lamented.

Another former colleague and friend to the decease, presently serving as Director of Programmes in ERuDeF, George Nkemka, said late Leku Francis inspired most of his achievements today. He recounted the palpable moments shared with the deceased.

“I knew Mr Leku as far back as 1995 when he was subject matter specialist at the Delegation of Agriculture in the Southwest, while I held same position in the Mamfe. So we met in a workshop in Limbe. That’s the very first time I knew him. He was later appointed as Director of Community Development

School in Kumba, while I served as Regional inspector for PVNR in Manyu and Lebialem. And so we met on many occasions and shared wonderful moments. He was later appointed Delegate for Agriculture and Rural Development for Southwest, while I also served as Regional Chief of Statistics in the same Delegation. We worked together and made great strides in the Agricultural landscape here in the Southwest Region. We were finally separated when he was appointed as a Director in the Ministry of Agriculture in Yaounde. His death came as a great shock to us, but we wish him well in the world beyond,” George Nkemka said.

Late Leku Francis also served as Southwest Delegate for Agriculture and Rural Development.

His mortal remains will be removed from the Yaounde Hospital Mortuary, Friday March 3, 2017. He will be taken to Wabane, Lebialem Division, where he will be laid to rest, Saturday March 4, 2017.

Late Francis Leku is a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Engineering, and Masters in Water Resources Management.

He leaves behind a wife, and four children.

By Yanick Fonki

May the Soul of Leku Francis Rest in Perfect Peace.

By Yanick Fonki

01 March 2017

Elites, Chiefs... To ‘Meet’ Forestry Minister For Protected Area Creation in Nkongho-Mbo

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 Elites, Chiefs... To ‘Meet’ Forestry Minister For Protected Area Creation in Nkongho-Mbo

The chiefs and elites of Nkongho-Mbo have resolved to transmit a letter to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, in the months ahead, expressing their desire for the creation of a protected area in their clan.

This resolution was arrived at, January 13, 2017, at the end of the Nkongho-Mbo Review and Planning Meeting towards the Creation of the Proposed Mak-Bechou Wildlife Sanctuary, after a unanimous decision by the chiefs and elites to support the creation of a protected area in Nkongho-Mbo.

Speaking on behalf of the Chiefs, the traditional ruler of Jungo village, His Royal Majesty Fonjungo, said the creation of this protected area will help in the conservation of their “God-given resources and the sustainable development of the area.” The representative of the elites, Justice Fonjock Ekenya corroborated the Chief adding that the creation of the protected area will as well aid in the conservation and sustainable management of medicinal plant and the development of Nkongho-Mbo’s touristic potentials.

The chiefs and elites promised to stand firm together to support the development and implementation of conservation programmes in their clan with the mentorship of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). Both chiefs and elites resolved to meet with the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife in April, 2016 to declare their desire for the creation of a protected area in their clan.

ERuDeF’s President/ CEO Louis Nkembi, commended the commitment of the chiefs and elites of Nkongho-Mbo reiterating the indispensability of nature to man. “We need nature to survive but nature does not need us to survive” Mr. Nkembi said pledging his organisation’s support in training and capacity building for sustainable development in the Nkongho-Mbo Area.

In order to ensure the proper spelling and adequate representation of adjacent villages in the map, it was resolved that ERuDeF completes the mapping of the area and updates the existing map with the aid of the administrative map of the area by March 30, 2017.

Regarding the visibility of the activities of the people of Nkongho-Mbo, it was resolved at the end of the meeting that ERuDeF will support the development of a website for the Nkongho-Mbo clan while the elites ensure content development and management of the site.

To limit differences that usually exists amongst adjacent communities to protected area, ERuDeF and the representatives of the chiefs and elites, agreed to meet with the Fons of Mbetta, Lekwe and Dinte villages to resolve issues patterning to community engagement and the sustainable development of projects in the area.

According to the resolutions, sustainable development, was amongst others, going to be realised through the creation of the Nkongho-Mbo Farmers, and Women cooperatives. Meanwhile, it was resolved that the protected area in question, was going to be known as the Proposed Mak-Mikiih Wildlife Sanctuary. The meeting was organised by ERuDeF.

By Bertrand Shancho

01 March 2017

ERuDeF UK Supports Education in Besali, SW Cameroon

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ERuDeF UK Supports Education in Besali, SW Cameroon

Some gifts comprising of solar computers, books, pens, and other didactic materials have been donated to some schools in Besali, a village in Lebialem, Southwest Cameroon. The donation exercise was carried out by the United Kingdom branch of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF UK).

According to the Chair of ERuDeF UK, John Daniels, the donation falls in line with the Organisation’s objective to support education and alleviate poverty in rural schools and communities. He however regretted the fact that it was unfortunate the donation was done at a time when schools were shut down in the area. He was positive that when schools effectively start, students and teachers will ease school work with the gifts.

“It is quite unfortunate that I visited at a time when schools in this area are not functional. I regret not being able to meet with the staff and students of GHS Besali. I sincerely hope that these gifts will go a long way to help make studies easier for both the students and their teachers,” John said.

On behalf of the schools, the gifts were received by the Director of ERuDeF Institute, Mm Akeh Nug. With so much gratitude and praise, the Director promised to hand over the gifts to the respective recipients as soon as schools resume.

Besali, hit with electricity blackout, has little or no multimedia centres. The computers donated which rely solely on sunlight for energy, will go a long way to enhance the teaching of information and communication technology (ICT) to the students in the area.

As a means of poverty alleviation, it was also agreed that women in the Besali community will in the days ahead be trained on how to produce locally made soaps, so as to empower them, giving them an alternative source of livelihood thereby reducing, if not stopping their encroachment in to the forest.

It should also be noted that Besali village is one of the adjacent villages to the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, home to some IUCN red listed species such as the Cross River gorillas, Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees and a host of others.

By Melvis Takang

01 March 2017

Government To Create Another Protected Area In Southwest Cameroon

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 Government To Create Another Protected Area In Southwest Cameroon

Cameroon Government through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), has officially declared her intention to move the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Division, Southwest Cameroon, into a protected area.

This information was made known through a Public Notice issued early February, 2017. The Public Notice informs adjacent communities to the proposed protected area, as well as other stakeholders of Government’s plans to transform this biodiversity hotspot hitherto used customary by the local people into a permanent forest estate. This according to the Notice, is to ensure the conservation and appropriate management of the richness and critical biodiversity of this area by the state and other partners.

The proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is an over 7000 hectares forest area located between longitudes 586000m and 596000m and latitude 598000m and 606000m. It is host to over 300 Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzees (one of the biggest chimpanzee density in Western Cameroon), over 100 forest elephants (the most northern range of African forest elephants within the Southwest Region of Cameroon), Drills, Cross River gorilla, bush baby, Blue duiker, Red River hog, red eared monkey and Mona Monkey amongst others. The area is also home to some unknown plant species as well as globally threatened birds species like the Cameroon montane greenbul, crossley’s ground thrush, Bangwa forest warbler, Green breasted bush shrike and Red headed picathartes. Contiguous to the Bayang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, this biodiversity hotspot is surrounded by close to seven Fondoms, with three located in the Lebialem Division, and the rest in the Kupe Muanenguba Division.

The gazetting process of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary is being facilitated by a Buea based Cameroon’s leading conservation non-profit Organisation, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). In an interview granted The Green Vision recently, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Organisation, Louis Nkembi said government’s declaration of intent to gazette this biodiversity hotspot is a significant milestone to the conservation process. The ERuDeF boss expressed gratitude to the Cameroon Government for such a move.

“I will like to say thank you to MINFOF for recognizing the work that we have been doing here since 2008. This is a clear indication that the government remains committed to saving the last species of our great apes, wildlife and globally threatened species where ever they are found in Cameroon” he said.

Mr. Louis recounts the path treaded so far; “When we launched the process for the creation of the Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary in late 2013, the procedures as outline by the government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, include amongst others the preparation and production of a scientific and technical report that describes the richness of this forest area. This was prepared and forwarded to the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife. The next stage was for the Cameroon Government through her technical department, to officially declare to the world and most especially the people living around the area that it has been selected for protection, and this, the government has just done”

The issuing of the Public Notice according to the ERuDeF vision driver, has paved the way for the compilation of the final document that will be put together and submitted to the PM’s office for the final and eventual creation of the Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. To get to this point, he disclosed that ERuDeF is supporting MINFOF officials (both national and regional authorities) to move through the process of village to village sensitization, which will culminate in the holding of the divisional commission for the classification of the Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. This will be held in Menji under the auspices of the Senior Divisional Officer of Lebialem.

“After the divisional classification meeting, the final document will be pulled together and transmitted through the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife to the PM’s Office, where there will be eventual validation and signature in case there are no oppositions,” Mr. Nkembi added.

The process is hoped to be completed by December 2017.

ERuDeF boss expressed profound gratitude to Rainforest Trust-USA “for providing funding for this major endeavor,” and to all local stakeholders who have been involved in this process that seeks to make Mak-Betchou one of the most beautiful biodiversity hotspots that will in turn generate income and employment opportunities for the people around this area.

By Bertrand Shancho

01 March 2017

ERuDeF-UK To Erect Research & Ecotourism Centre In Tofala

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 ERuDeF-UK To Erect Research & Ecotourism Centre In Tofala

A state of the art research centre and an ecological lodge would soon be erected in Besali, a community adjacent to the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The United Kingdom branch of the Environment and Rural Development (ERuDeF-UK), disclosed their plans during a feasibility study carried out in the area, January 31 to February 3, 2017. According to the Chair of ERuDeF UK, John Daniels, the aim is to promote research and ecotourism in the area.

During this visit, the ERuDeF team held talks with Chiefs and inhabitants of some villages in Tofala including Besali and Bechati communities of the Tofala rain forest to enlighten them on the project and what they stand to benefit.

The Chiefs and village inhabitants welcomed the project with great joy and anticipation with the traditional ruler of Besali, Chief Ekwe Tayem Robert, offering a piece of land for the construction of the research centre.

“This Project is a great idea which I am sure will bring lots of benefits to my people as has always been the case. Reason why I didn’t hesitate to offer a piece of land to be used for the realization of the project” Chief Ekwe stated.

Apart from the employment and high exposure which the creation of this touristic site will bring to the community dwellers, support for education through scholarships and empowering the local women cannot be left out as this will go a long way to help alleviate poverty in the area and also reduce human pressure on the forest as alternative sources of income will be provided to the women.

After holding talks with the adjacent communities, the ERuDeF-UK and ERuDeF-Cameroon teams headed to the Tofala Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, where they spent two nights carrying out feasibility studies for the establishment of an ecological lodge in the forest.

This visit also gave the team an opportunity to appreciate the touristic potential of this biodiversity hotspot.

“A place like Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is indeed an attractive site to behold. Its rich biodiversity, beautiful landscape and untamed forest vegetation has been my point of interest in the area since from my last visit in 2013 and now. …. The place is worth visiting over and over again reason why I think a research centre and an eco-lodge is a paramount need in the area” ERuDeF UK branch committee Chair disclosed

In the same light, ERuDeF-UK Committee Member, Mr Paul Spillet, who doubles as a Photo Journalist, expressed great satisfaction after spending two nights in the forest.

“Though my first time in Africa, it feels like home to me. Being in Tofala was a completely great and enjoyable experience and I must say coming to Tofala has undoubtedly heightened my love for nature and am so glad I visited,” he remarked.

For his part, the President and Chief Executive Officer of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, said the presence of these Eco touristic infrastructures will greatly boost tourism in the area. He urged the population of Besali to cease the opportunity and make great strides in their fief.

The Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is an irresistible touristic site with special features including waterfalls like “Tem-tem waterfall”, streams and endemic plants, insects, butterflies and animal species. It is host to close to 30 critically endangered and endemic Cross River gorilla, 900 bird species, over 100 plant species and over 150 endangered Nigeria Cameron Chimpanzee.

Besides its great touristic features the area is surrounded by hospitable communities.

However access to this ‘paradise’ remains a nightmare especially during the rainy season.

By Melvis Takang

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