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01 November 2017

ERuDeF Schools Ranger On New Surveillance, Bio-Monitoring Techniques

Posted in News, Views 93

 ERuDeF Schools Ranger On New Surveillance, Bio-Monitoring Techniques

Atingtang Bernard, a new ranger selected by the Fossungu Village Forest Management Committee, has been fully equipped intellectually to take up his new role. This was during two weeks of intensive training on surveillance and bio-monitoring facilitated by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). The training carried out in the Fossungu flank of the Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary, took place in October, 2017.

According to ERuDeF’s Biologist and Wildlife Research Officer,Gwendoline Angwa, the new ranger was trained on the basics of Global Positioning System (GPS) and data collection processes. To her, information acquired from the Fossungu flank of the Sanctuary will greatly facilitate a broad-based analysis of activities in the, hence, integrated in the Management Plan.

“He was trained on various aspects on bio-monitoring and surveillance, using GPS and other gadgets. He also undertook some training on data collection. His activities around this flank of Tofala, will enable us to have information on the specie distribution and human encroachment in the entire sanctuary. The information will be integrated in to the Management Plan of the Sanctuary,” Gwendoline indicated.

The training lasted for eight days with an additional 5 days for a test period. From the test evaluation, the ranger fully took his lessons well.

“His ability to manipulate the GPS and cyber tracker machines, coupled with his surveillances prowess, proved he was on track to becoming a qualified ranger in Tofala,” the trainer said.

On his part, the new ranger testified that he received the trainings in humility, and will be able to put to practice, all that he acquired. He indicated that he shall be rigorous in the Fossungu flank of Tofala so all the encroached parts of the sanctuary will be identified and reported.

“This knowledge I have acquired here is very important. Using the GPS to track and measure the size of an area is so great. I therefore shall immediately get to work to survey all the boundaries around this flank. All encroached areas of the sanctuary shall be reported in my data,” said Mr Bernard.

It should be noted that much of the Fossungu flank of the sanctuary has been converted to farmlands. It is against this backdrop that a ranger was employed and assigned to survey the area. Large groups of the endangered Preuss’ monkey were encountered on several occasions. This species were mostly seen in small forest fragment between the farmlands.

By: Angwa Gwendoline

01 November 2017

Rare Bat Species Discovered on Mt Muanenguba

Posted in News, Views 127

Rare Bat Species Discovered on Mt Muanenguba

Glauconycterisgleni (Glen's Wattled Bat), an erratic bat species has been discovered on Mt. Muanenguba. In a recent study carried out on the mountain by a team of chiroptologist made up of Dr BakwoFils Eric and Takuo Jean Michel,the bat species were found after it was last recorded and described in Cameroon by Peterson and Smithin 1973.

According to these researchers,additional studies are needed on the distribution, abundance, general ecology and potential threats to this species. They went further to explain that this major discovery is one of the reasons why Mt Muanenguba should be protected from human encroachment and degradation. They believed that this action will go a long way to protect this rare bat species and other endemic birds and amphibian species on Mt Muanenguba.

Glen's Wattled Bat is listed on the IUCN website as Data Deficient. This is because little information exists on its evolutional history, ecology, abundance and distribution. This little known African bat species is said to have a very small global geographical range. It has only been recorded from a locality of Lomie in the East Region of Cameroon and from a single site in western Uganda. This endemic species is presumably threatened in parts of its range. Threats from logging and the conversion of forest habitat to agricultural use greatly affect the population of the bats. As of now there appear to be no direct conservation measures in place for this species.

Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They are also among the only mammals known to feed on blood. There are more than 900 species of bats in the world. Some experts estimate the number to be as high as 1,200 species. According to Bat Conservation International, bats make up one-fifth of the mammal population on Earth.

By: Manka’a Grace

01 November 2017

Tofala VFMC Builds Capacity On Wildlife Management

Posted in News, Views 111

Tofala VFMC Builds Capacity On Wildlife Management

Thirty three (33) individuals representing the Village Forest Management Committees (VFMCs) of some communities bordered to the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS), have received training on basic wildlife laws and the use of GPS. The training took place recently in Bechati, headquarters to the sanctuary.

Members of the VFMCs who were present, came from Bechati, Besali, Fossungu, Bangang, Folepi, Banti, Nkong and Bamumbu. They were made up of 13 women and 20 men of age group between 25 to 60 years.

The one day training was on the basic elements of the 1994 Forestry and Wildlife laws. Pictures were used to demonstrate the different species protected, and the use of GPS to collect coordinates, as well as tracing of the boundaries of a protected area. The training was facilitated by a Senior Wildlife Biologist at the Environment and Rural Foundation (ERuDeF), Allen Tabi.

Regarding the 1994 Forestry and Wildlife Law, the facilitator told participants that animal species are protected under three classes, A, B and C. According to him, species of class ‘A’are totally protected and may on no occasion be killed except as provided for by the law.

“For example Cross River Gorilla and Nigeria Cameroon chimpanzee are totally protected. However, their capture or their being kept in captivity shall be subject to the grant of an authorisation by the service in charge of wildlife,” Allen added.

He indicated that the species of class B are also protected, however, they can be hunted, captured or killed, provided a hunting permit is granted.

“For example, blue duiker (frotambo), brown duiker (deer) are protected. Like I explained, the can still be hunted, that is if a hunting permit is granted by the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF),” Allen explained.

He went further to saythe species of class C are partially protected, example porcupines, cane rats. According to him, their capture or killingsare regulated by conditions laid down by theMINFOF law.

The facilitator also highlighted the legal implications for killing protected animals.

“Amongst other things, jail terms of five to ten years with fines of five to ten million CFA Francs, hang around those who kill protected animals,” Allen outlined.

At the end of the training, the facilitator indicated the exercise will go a long way to raise awareness on the different animal species protected by the Government of Cameroon and the penalties involved in hunting them.

Participants testified they grabbed a lot from the training. They promised to pass on what they learned to their community members.

“Such training are very important for the local populations because they are ignorant of the different species that are protected by the Government. We, members of the Village Forest Management Committee, will ensure that those we represent will also benefit from the knowledge that we have acquired. Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is our jewellery, so we should make sure we contribute in the protection of its species for the present and future generations,” opined Fon Nkemtaji Jerry of Bechati VFMC.

Village Forest Management Committees are structures representing the local populations, they play an intermediary role; facilitate dialogue, negotiation and consultation between the local populations and Council, Non-Governmental Organisation. They assure the participation of the local population in the management of their natural resources.

Enokenwa Allen Tabi

31 October 2017

Silver Back Company, ERuDeF’s Biodiversity Business Component

Posted in News, Views 89

 Silver Back Company, ERuDeF’s Biodiversity Business Component

The Lebialem highlands forest area is predominantly a palm oil exploitation area.The Lebialem palm oil development project was introduced in 2011 by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). It led to a considerable improvement in the livelihood of the local population with increase in household income from 20% to 45%.

In the course of the project, it was noticed that the capacity of the local population was not adequate for sustainable management of the project. To build up these lapses in management, the Social Business Development, was created at ERuDeF with a specific mission to sustainably manage conservation projects’ fall outs for the betterment of the local population.

In addition, the division of Social Business development was thought of as stimulant to foster rapid economic development in these communities living adjacent to conservation habitats in Lebialem highland. The department came to fulfil the aspirations of the local communities aiming at improving on economic welfare through job creation, socioeconomic advancement and the institution of community development projects.

In the same light, the Silver Back Company Ltd (SBC Ltd) was created as an institution in November 2013. Principally,it manages activities and operations of the Social Business Division.

The Company is named after the male Cross River Gorilla characteristic with a silver lining at his back. He is popularly known as the Silver Back Gorilla.

The company is a special class of limited liability, in which profits generated are not for the interest of the shareholders but to further enhance and promote conservation activities within the geographical limit of the project area. The company is concern with value addition to the activities of ERuDeF.It came on the heels of observation with partners and local communities that the people cannot adequately and efficiently manage sustainable livelihood project donated to them, market projects and bring back profits to the community for development and conservation support. The company has the opportunity to do value chain development for products within the conservation site. It can as well do legal and environmental acceptable businesses which are directed at preservation and protection of the natural environment.

The main objective of SBC Ltd is to ensure support for long term management of a system of protected areas in Cameroon starting with the newly created TOFALA Hill Wild life Sanctuary. Consequently, the company had to:

- To enhance profitability of the company.

- Support long term conservation efforts through the capitalization of the - Forest Protection Fund (FoProF)

- Production and commercialisation of forest products through the setting up of small scale cottage industries for the production and marketing of basic commodities with interest in Non Timber Forest Products found in conservation habitats.

Specific objectives of SBC Ltd

The company will sustainably do the following:

  • Processing and marketing of palm oil.
  • Production and marketing of aromatic plants such as Echinopsgiganteuse and Mondiawhiteiwithin and without Cameroon.

· Collection, processing and marketing of Non Timber Forest Products and by product in and out of Cameroon.

· Support the financing of integral conservation development programs throughout Cameroon especially in regions where ERuDeF is implementing its activities. This can be done by creating a conservation finance unit to better manage the project.

· Production and marketing of environmental news articles by setting up a media and publishing unit as well as publishing on line newsletter for the company to create visibility with partners and stakeholders.

· Position the company as the leading social business organization in Cameroon.

The company has created positive impacts in communities such as Bechati, Besali, Nkong and Essoh-Attah in Lebialem Division. Quality production in palm oil, echinops, and mondia whitei and honey has put smiles in people’s faces. This is possible thanks to the efforts of the Silver Back Company Ltd.

BY: Peter Tendongzi

31 October 2017

SBC Ltd Adopts New Palm Oil Production Model As 2017/2018 Milling Season Approaches

Posted in News, Views 65

 SBC Ltd Adopts New Palm Oil Production Model As 2017/2018 Milling Season Approaches

 A new model to enhance production and marketing of Palm Oil, has been adopted by the Silver Back Company Limited (SBC Ltd). The new palm oil milling model aims at maximizing profit for the company while improving the livelihood of the communities adjacent to protected areas. The redefinition of the strategies for the project comes as a result of negative profits the project is incurring for the past two palm oil production seasons.

Information of the new model was disclosed in a development workshop with the mill operators, cooperative members and other villagers producing palm oil in the communities were SBC Ltd operates. The workshop took place recently in Besali, Lebialem Division, Southwest Cameroon.

According to the Manager of SBC ltd, Ignatius Njom, the new strategy consists of restructuring and mobilising the farmers within the confines of the existing cooperatives, to produce the highest quantity and quality of palm nuts.

“SBC Ltd will transport the palm nuts to the milling site at a limited cost .Only considerablequantity of oil will be purchased, hence, main focus will be diverted to the mobilisation of farmers to produce nuts. Buyers will also be organised to buy top quality palm oil at the mills one to two days per week.With this approach in place, the negative profits will be reversed and we will be reaping some substantial profits,” Ignatius Njom said.

The SBC ltd boss decried the influence peddling attitudes of some Nigerian buyers, causing prices to increase even at deficient quality. With all these challenges he said, warranted for a new production and marketing strategy.

“The palm oil prices witnessed an increase in the community from 11,000 FCFA to 13,500 FCFA over and above the market prices in towns. Also, the high prices at the level of the communities in which Silver Back Company has no influence on it as well as the stiff competition from other buyers from Nigeria worsen matters as purchase price is on a steady increase irrespective of the quality. So we adopted this new model to counteract all those negative influences, hence, keeping SBC ltd at the centre of business in the communities,” Njom said.

Meantime, members of cooperatives dealing in the palm oil sector, have expressed total happiness with the coming of this new model. According to them, the model will go a long to improve the palm oil business climate in Lebialem, hence, putting additional income in the community members.

“We are so grateful for this new model. We are extremely happy for the putting at our disposal, a transportation mechanism that will cost us little or nothing. This will greatly facilitate our production process, hence, reducing the cost of production. We urge those who are still lagging behind to join us and maximise profit from this new SBC model,” indicated Forkwai Zachariah, Secretary General of the Lower Mundani Farmers’Cooperative.

Silverback Company Limited is the “Business Division” of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation(ERuDeF). It was founded in 2013 as a legal entity governed by the business laws of the Republic of Cameroon. The company aims to support the conservation activities and social development around key conservation sites in Cameroon.

By: Ignatius Njom

31 October 2017

Unceasing Anglophone crisis Impedes Environmental Education in Lebialem Division

Posted in News, Views 95

 Unceasing Anglophone crisis Impedes Environmental Education in Lebialem Division

Environmental conservationists have lamented over severe negative repercussions the Anglophone crisis has had on Environmental Education in Lebialem. Speaking recently in Lebialem, the conservationists mainly from the Education for Sustainable Development Programme (ESD), at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), indicated repeated ghost towns adorned with school boycotts have had untold effects on the sensitization process of the population, about sustainable management of the environment.

According to the Manager of the ESD programme at ERuDeF, Samuel Ngueping, the advent of the Anglophone crisis since 2016,has caused schools in Lebialem Division to remain shut down, thereby keeping away the bulk of the programme’s target. To him, the situation is further compounded by the deserted nature of the markets and public structures, hence, educating the population is pretty difficult.

“Our primary target in the ESD programme are youths of school going ages. We have been engaging them on a lot of capacity building activities on the environment. Unfortunately, schools remain shut down and the learners are nowhere to be found in the quarters. As a result of this, the premises of schools in Lebialem Division have been transformed into a secondary forests by unwanted plants and grass. Thepresence of the weeds have created an atmosphere of competition for nutrients, with trees planted by students and pupils in their campuses, thus,reducing the survival rate of these trees. Besides tree planting, the other mentioned activities above are still in a halt, since those with whom these activities are to be carried out with are now taken refuge in their houses, bushes and others in military detention,” Samuel Ngueping said.

The Environmental Conservationist flanked by his collaborators, have send a clarion call to all stakeholders concerned with bringing an end to the crisis, to engage in meaningful dialogue, that will bring to an end of the impasse.

“We use this medium to call on the government of Cameroon in particular, and all warring factions to bury pride and arrogance, so a meaningful dialogue can be achieved. It is only going to be on this basis that we shall children back to school, hence, continue with our sustainable environmental management campaign. This situation to a certain extent, has frustrated the goal and mission of the ESD programme with regards to Environmental Education in schools. We hope to have kids go back to school not before long,” Samuel Ngueping said.

In the meantime, the ESD manager disclosed other measures put in place to contain the adversities caused by the social stalemate in Lebialem.

“To uphold the goal and mission of ERuDeF, weare carrying out round weeding of trees in schools. With the numerous schools in Lebialem Division, it is very difficult to meet with the tasks which was carried by students and pupils in their respective schools.Also, we join rallies and educate people on environmental issues.

The Education for Sustainable development programme, is a component of a greater biodiversity conservation ambition of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF). It uses basic capacity building techniques to resolve global environmental issues such as climate change, conservation of plants and animals species and the protection of ecosystems.

In the domain of school, the activities carried out include: establishment of forest gardens, Arts and Culture, tree planting and weeding, Wildlife Advocacy Week, organizing seminars for Environmental Educators. It should be noted that the smooth running of these activities is guaranteed with the engagement of students. This engagement of schools and ERuDeF is bonded by a memorandum of understanding.

Njume William

 

11 October 2017

ERuDeF Leading Biodiversity Conservation In Cameroon-MINFOF SDAP

Posted in News, Views 179

ERuDeF Leading Biodiversity Conservation In Cameroon-MINFOF SDAP

The Sub Director in charge of Protected Areas Management (SDAP) at the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF), Njiang Antoine, has endorsed the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) as Cameroon’s leading Biodiversity conservation non-profit Organisation. He says ERuDeF front-runs development and management of protected areas in the country.

B: Yanick Fonki N. & B. Schancho Ndimuh

Speaking during a workshop to establish a roadmap for the elaboration of the management plan of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, the Protected Area Management Sub Director said ERuDeF remains the first National NGO to facilitate the development of a management plan for a protected area in Cameroon.

He posited that, if ERuDeF continues with this spirit, the Organisation will cement its position as the leading biodiversity conservation Organisation in Cameroon and Africa.

“We have over 200 protected areas in Cameroon, with some 13 Management Plans. The Government has been the only one facilitating the elaboration and validation process for the Management Plans. ERuDeF is the first NGO to get involved in the facilitation process. Hence, it is unarguable that the Organisation is the leader of biodiversity conservation in Cameroon,” said Njiang Antoine.

The Sub Director revealed that MINFOF has signed and approved a working agreement with ERuDeF. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), according to him, paves the way for more collaborating actions between MINFOF and ERuDeF.

Meanwhile ERuDeF has since 2010 been engaged in facilitating the creation of series of protected areas to protect isolated population of biodiversity species in the country.

One of ERuDeF’s memorable achievements in protected area development in Cameroon was recorded in 2014 with the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS).

THWS created in 2014, is safe haven to Cross River Gorillas, Chimpanzees, Drills, Preuss guenon and Bushman potto. It also harbours some 42 plant species in the IUCN Red List, 6 of which are endemic to this site, amphibians and 14 bird species.

The Organisation was also instrumental in the creation of the Kimbi-Fungom National Park in North West Cameroon, home to Nigeria Cameroon Chimpanzees.

With support from Rainforest Trust-USA, Tusk Trust, African Conservation Foundation (ACF) and other international partners, ERuDeF is leading a campaign that will culminate in the creation and management of three other protected areas in Cameroon. These are the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary, proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve and the proposed Mount Nlonako Amphibians Sanctuary.

The gazettement of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary will save over 300 chimpanzees, unknown population of gorillas, over 100 elephants as well as other endangered wildlife and plants. While the creation of the proposed Mount Muanenguba Integral Ecological Reserve and the proposed Mount Nlonako Amphibians Sanctuary will aid in the long term protection of one of the key amphibian sites in Africa, including other biodiversity species.

Meanwhile, the Organisation is also mobilising resources to ensure the conservation of endangered species like the Giant Frog of Mt. Nlonako in Littoral Region, the Drills and Bush Shrike of Mt. Kupe in South West region, as well as the Chimpanzees and Gorillas of the Deng Deng National Park in the East Region of Cameroon..

The creation of protected areas is ERuDeF’s approach to contributing to Cameroon’s conservation policy, which sets out to place at least 30% of the national territory under permanent protection.

11 October 2017

Executive Board of Biodiversity Community Trust Put In Place

Posted in News, Views 143

 Executive Board of Biodiversity Community Trust Put In Place

The executive board of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF)’s Biodiversity Community Trust (BCT), has been put in place. This board is made up of nine persons elected during a Constituent General Assembly, which took place in Menji September 8, 2017.

According to ERuDeF’s Micro-Finance Manager, Quddus Njang, the putting in place of this board is necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the Trust in all cooperatives found within the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. It will equally enable community members to have access to financial resources in other to reduce their over dependence on the forest for a livelihood.

Quddus schooled the board member on the importance of microfinance. He underscored the need for communities to have access to cash and to facilitate the establishment of micro businesses in the adjacent communities. This enlightenment was greatly welcome by participants.

“I thank ERuDeF for all that they have been doing to ensure the growth of our communities as well as our livelihoods. I will like you people to create the Biodiversity Community Trust in our communities. I believe this will help us to have access to financial resources that will enable us to set up alternative income generating activities thus, diverting our attention from the forest” Mr Tanduwn Landnus said

In the course of the meeting each of the cooperatives bought shares worth $ 30,000. A total of $480 shares were bought with a cash contribution of $320.

The meeting was attended by representatives of some eight cooperatives found within the Tofala and the Proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. These cooperatives include: Lower Mundani Farmers Cooperative, Tofala Women Cooperative, Mount Bamboutos Echinops Cooperative, Lewoh Women Cooperative, Alou-Tofala Farmers Cooperative, Nkongho-Mbo Farmers Cooperative, Nkongho-Mbo Farmers Cooperative and Mak-Betchou Cooperative.

This was made possible by ERuDeF with financial support from Rainforest Trust.

11 October 2017

Lebialem, Menoua Farmers Schooled On Farm Management Techniques

Posted in News, Views 144

Lebialem, Menoua Farmers Schooled On Farm Management Techniques

The Agro-forestry Coordinator for Lebialem at the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), Ntungwa Elong, has trained farmers in the Menoua and Lebialem Divisions of the West and Southwest Regions of Cameroon respectively on best farm management techniques.

During the training that took place recently, participants were thought on how to prune the leaves of these trees and use for the mulching of the farm for it to decompose as organic fertilizer.

The Agroforestry Coordinator enlightened farmers that agro-forestry trees species like Acacia, Leucaena and Calliandra are not only for soil restoration and the protection of the environment but they could also serve as pecks for bean, yam and tomatoes during pruning of the alley cropping.

“Besides using leaves of the pruned branches from the alleys for mulching of the soil, you can also use these pruned branches to peck crops like tomatoes, beans, sweet yams and even more,” Ntungwa told the farmers.

Meantime, the farmers showed thanked ERuDeF for the training promising to put into practice what they have learned.

“I have been using this method for some time. Unfortunately, I have not been using it well. With this training, I shall apply the method in all of my 5 hectares of farmlands,” indicated Demsoung Maurice, a farmer in Meka, West Region.

In-line with ERuDeF’s objective to restore degraded landscape and improve on the income of resourced-poor farmers in Cameroon, the organisation in collaboration with Trees for the Future-USA, established agroforestry nurseries with farming groups in Lebialem Division. Seeds of Tree species like Acacia, Leucaena and prunusafricana were handed to interested farmers in the month of March 2017 alongside sensitization on the importance of these species and training on nursery management.

By Ntungwa Elong

11 October 2017

Footprints of Social Business Activities In Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex

Posted in News, Views 183

Footprints of Social Business Activities In Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex

Over 1000 families have benefited directly or indirectly from the livelihood supported projects of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) within the last couple of years.

These benefits, according to the Manager of ERuDeF’s Social Business Division, Ignatius Njom, include petty business training, Training & support on apicultural farming, training & support on livestock production (pig farming), microfinance initiation in rural areas enclave from microfinance and banking activities (The Biodiversity Community Trust-BCT & The Forest Protection Fund - FoProF), Producers Cooperatives, sustainable extraction of None Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), and installation of 04 giant semi industrial palm oil mills.

He said the organisation has equally focussed on poverty alleviation through training and support in the production of local soap, omo and medicated soap, Support to women groups with cassava grinding mills (Bechati&Folepi).

Mr. Njom said over 10 NTFPs community nursery have been created & donated for transplanting, marketing channels established for agricultural products and natural resources like palm oil, Mondia wheiti and Echinops plants discovered in Lebialem.

“Over 100 persons can be seen in petty businesses around ERuDeF project sites as a result of the skills acquired. Over 300 beehives (top cover Kenyan type) have been installed in the Lebialem highlands with a colonisation rate of over 80% an indication of over 2000 kg of honey will be produced early 2016 along site other bee bi-products. Over 200 piglets have been donated to support forest adjacent communities and the reproduction (pregnancy rate) stands at 70% meaning that early in 2017 an average of well over 500 piglets were produced given that each pig produce on average 5 piglets” he expounded.

The Social Business boss disclosed that through the activities of his Division, employment opportunities have been created either directly or indirectly in all project sites like the 4 oil mills, bi-products milling, detergent production and commercialization etc.

This to him, has increased the per capita income of the local communities

“There have been an increase in the per capita income of local community members from less than 0.05 USD per day to above 2 USD per day” he said.

Community members have confessed of increament in household income, education of their children, more hospital attention that had led to good health and increase in their standards of living amonst others thanks to ERuDeF’s intervention.

All these, according to Njom, has aided in reducing over dependence on the forest, increase in wildlife population and the protection of fragile ecosystems.

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