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12 February 2015

A Fantastic Two Week Gorilla and Chimpanzee Conservation Trip

Posted in News, Views 1136

A Fantastic Two Week Gorilla and Chimpanzee Conservation Trip

My two week gorilla and chimpanzee conservation trip with ERuDeF Institute in Cameroon has been fantastic. Fantastic because I was able to spend time in the rainforest tracking these sadly rare animals, but also fantastic for the way the team gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the various lifestyles enjoyed by the people of Cameroon, from the more familiar bigger cities through to villages without running water or electricity

The real excitement for me started when we left Menji to head to Besali, one of the outlying communities around the rainforest by motorbike, with our bags strapped to the back along with the supplies. You're pressed up against the driver and going along very bumpy paths, at first it's awkward and then you get used to it and realize that you are hurtling along some amazing scenery and before you know it you're pulling up into Besali.

We spend the night and then meet the chief in the morning for blessing and permission to go into the forest. The more traditional Besali people believe that their ancestors live in the forest and so the chief lets them know we are coming and asks them to look after us.

Solomon's wives carry our bags etc to the camp site, something I was very glad about having trekked two hours over slippery, challenging paths without carrying anything.

For four days we tracked for signs of chimpanzees and gorillas in the forest and were lucky enough to see gorilla nests and hear chimpanzee calls. I also learned how to date these signs and record them. I even got to a point where I could define a Gorilla nest from a Chimpanzee nest. However we also saw the human effect on the forest.

We saw multiple farms where the rainforest has been slashed and burned leaving empty fields filled with plantain, bananas and cocoa. We also saw several gun shells from hunters looking for bush meat. It really highlights the destructive force of human activity and how much all the work to protect the rainforest and the animals that live in it is needed.

Alongside the gorilla and chimpanzee signs, we saw tiger feeding signs, a bush baby, a Bannermans Toraco, a tree snake and a preying mantis. I don't mind that I didn't see any gorillas or chimpanzees, as I knew it was unlikely especially with all the farms and hunting. I know how ever that the data I collected will be used for ongoing work in protecting these animals.

Back in Besali, I taught conservation lessons to local schools which was interesting and with some sweets and a game, we managed to get the message across.

All in all I loved my trip and was surprised with just how much I took away from it, both in terms of wildlife conservation and a greater understanding of the people of Cameroon. I'd like to thank everyone at ERuDeF Institute, especially Bedwin for all they have shown me.

By Niall Hughes

UK Volunteer

12 February 2015

Trainee’s Encounter with Chimpanzees in Tofala

Posted in News, Views 986

Trainee’s Encounter with Chimpanzees in Tofala

The notion that I was to camp in the forest close to a week made me sick when I went through the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit studies (EIBiNS) field calendar and discovered that I was to embark on a one week field trip on the insitu Conservation of wild life in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary.

This fear was however overcome by my love for adventure, passion for wild life conservation and words of encouragement I got from my supervisor, Ms Asoh Bedwin, who is also the Research Coordinator at EIBiNS. She oriented me on biomonitoring trip preparation as we travelled from Buea, through Dschang and Lewoh to Besali, an adjacent community to Tofala. This prepared me psychologically that I was able to content the bumpy road

From Besali, one German Ph.D. research student at EIBiNS, Mr. Sebastian Linarz, an ERuDeF Biomonitor, Solomon, Madam Bedwin and I headed for the based camp in Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. We hiked to the forest; climbing and descending steep hills, escarpments and crossing streams for close to two hours before we arrived the based camp.

At the based camp, I was faced with another challenge; mounting of tents where we will spend the rest of our nights! With the help of Sebastian and Bedwin I learned and was able to also help in mounting the tents, something I have never experienced; not even during my undergraduate studies.

While at the camp, Madam Asoh, enlightened me on the collection of wildlife data during biomonitoring, variables to consider and the use of the GPS amongst others. We headed for the forest for the biomonitoring proper recording wildlife data including feeding signs of different wildlife species, nests, dung and many others. This was really interesting as I did not only see but actively participated in the collection of the different variables, something I have never been chanced to do practically. This gave me an understanding of wildlife ecology, threats and many others. I was also able to distinguish between a gorilla nest and a chimpanzee nest.

We did this continuously then this fateful day; we were in our traditional quiet fashion tracking wildlife when all of a sudden, we started encountering fresh Chimpanzee nests, dung, and different feeding signs. We went closer and when I lifted up my head, I saw a troop of chimpanzees on a tree feeding on fruits. I was very thrilled as we watched with excitement these "human cousins" skipping from branch to branch feeding on fruits and vocalizing. I realized that the sounds produced by the Champanzees were varied and the tempo depicted their age groups.

As we continued in to the forest, we heard another troop of Chimpanzee vocalizing from a distance for the others to give way. We walked towards the direction of the coming troop as the vocalization intensified to also see them but they got our footsteps and ran away. This was such an amazing experience that will never escape my memory.

In fact, I realized that wild life conservation is more effective in the field as you learn things that you will never understand just sitting in class. You have the opportunity to observe and ask questions to specialists in the domain; see, torch, smell and even taste the paraphernalia involved in the conservation of wild life. For instance, I saw and also learned how to set a camera trap on the trail of gorillas equally seen with my own eyes human threats like new farms created in the forest, sneer trap set by hunters and many others.

I want to heartily thank the EIBiNS administration for organizing such a trip and will be very glad to embark on many of such trips in the future in order to widen my scope and knowledge in wild life conservation/share my experience with the outside world.

Angwa Gwendoline

Wildlife Conservation Trainee at ERuDeF Institute

12 February 2015

Bangang Embraces Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Posted in News, Views 959

The Fon of Bangang and his people have pledged to embrace the just-created Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Lebialem Division in the South West Region.


Bangang is one of the communities bordering the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary that was created by Prime Ministerial decree number 20145212 of September 29, 2014.

Fon Folah Njoh Julius III told The Green Vision, that a majority of his people have embraced the ministerial decision making Tofala a full protected area.

The Fon was speaking on November 20, 2014 during a meeting to discuss the donation of piglets and beehives to his community by ERuDeF within the framework of the Net Positive Impact (NPI) project, sponsored by French Charity Man and Nature.

Unlike other communities where resistance to the Tofala initiative has been minimal, the people of Bangang seemed to be have been more resistant to conservation efforts in the area. However, thanks to constant sensitization and collaboration between ERuDeF and the Fon as well as other Bangang indigenes, The Green Vision learnt more than 60% of the population is now ready to support the conservation of the area's biodiversity.

Fon Folah said he was ready to continue mobilizing his people to participate in the management of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, but cautioned that the needs of his people must come first. "ERuDeF and partners must put my people first; they must protect my people 70% and the animals 30%. If they do so, my people and I will protect the animals 100%," said the Fon.

The Fon and his cabinet said the piglets donated to his community would go a long way to improve on the livelihoods of his people. This notwithstanding, he requested that more should be done as is the case with other communities in Tofala.

"ERuDeF and its partners should also offer us oil mills, improved palm and cocoa seeds, train my people on how to cultivate American palms, create rubber plantations, fish ponds, and produce basic commodities like soap and the rest. You should also support education in my community because I know these are things you have done in other areas. I am more interested in the development of my village, I know what my people need and if these things are offered, you can be sure to have the full support of my community," Fon Folah said.

Nkwete Emilia Bangang, an elder and foremost adviser to Fon Folah, cautioned that care should be taken on who receives items meant for the community because if the wrong people receive community benefits then they would end up in private keeping and fail to meet the needs of the entire community as intended.

Meanwhile, the coordinator of ERuDeF's Livelihood and Economic Development Programme, Ignatius Njom, assured Fon Folah and his people that their points had been taken into consideration and promised action.

He told the Fon and his council of elders that if the people of Bangang were a little backwards in terms of livelihood benefits from ERuDeF and her partners, it was partly because of their seemingly uncollaborative attitude since the initiation of the NPI-Livelihoods project in the area. Njom reassured them of more benefits since they were now ready to support conservation efforts in the area.

Appreciating the NPI project and excited by the promise of amicable collaboration with ERuDeF, the Fon Folah said he took over from his late father at the tender age of 15 to become the ninth Fon of Bangang, hence as someone who understands his people and puts their interest first, he would only accept projects that would better their lives even if it means falling out with a few antagonists.


By Immaculate Mkong

12 February 2015

Bangang Community Benefits From Man & Nature/ERuDeF Largesse

Posted in News, Views 927

Bangang Community Benefits From Man & Nature/ERuDeF Largesse

The people of Bangang have benefited from the largesse of French charity organization Man and Nature through ERuDeF's Net Positive impact (NPI) project. The coordinator of EruDeFs' livelihood program recently handed the consignment of beehives and piglets to the Chief of Bangang, Fon Folah III, in the presence of the entire community. The items will serve as alternative sources of income to bee farmers, hunters and trappers who depend solely on the forest for livelihood.

Bangang is one of the eleven villages of the forest adjacent communities to the newly created Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) gazzetted by a Prime Ministerial decree number 20145212 of September 29, 2014 with a surface area of 8087 hectares. The Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary is situated between longitude 598006m-609830m and latitude 615778m and 634006m in the Lebialem Highland Conservation Complex of South West, Cameroon.

It should be noted that the objective of ERuDeF's livelihood program is to reduce over dependence on the forest. It is believed that the items will serve as alternative sources of income to the people, hence reducing their dependence on the forest. By so doing, a stable and increasing wildlife population in the forest, especially the threatened and near threatened species will be maintained.

While receiving the items, Fon Folah III cautioned ERuDeF Livelihood team that they should put human being at the fore front in their conservation efforts. As the saying goes "Conservation cannot be done on and empty stomach" and according to him in protecting the wildlife population, more attention should be on humans (70%) and 30% can be paid to the animals.

On behalf of his people, the Fon requested that ERuDeF install at least two small oil mills in Bangang.

According to him, it will be a great sign of relief to the entire population which at moment depend on the traditional milling methods. He further told the ERuDeF livelihood and economic development team that palm oil is the major economic activity of the people in this village. Meanwhile there are other livelihood needs like fish farming, improved palm species, pipe borne water amongst others

The president of the Bangang bee farmers and trappers association in the person of Odenis Tambi in receiving the beehives and piglets on behalf of the association thanked Man and Nature through ERuDeF for the gesture and lauded their support to ERuDeF for the conservation of wildlife species in the entire Lebialem conservation complex.

Speaking on behalf of the association, Tambi promised that the items received will be put into proper use and the association is going to produce the highest honey in Tofala coupled given the fact that his group had earlier on in 2014 received intensive training on bee farming, honey production and livestock breathing.

The coordinator of ERuDeF's livelihood program thanked the Bangang community for their collaboration, he advised them to make proper use of the item and more will be donated to them depending on the impact the donated items have on their lives. Furthermore, he called on the villagers to count on ERuDeF for more livelihood support especially now that the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary has been officially created. The donation process ended up with a lot of optimism from the entire community; the villagers through their Fon pledge their utmost support to join ERuDeF in their conservation efforts.


By Ignatius Njom

12 February 2015

ERuDeF Institute Gets New Deputy Director

Posted in News, Views 1031

ERuDeF Institute Gets New Deputy Director

The ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies EIBiNS now has a new Deputy Director. The new Deputy Director, Mr. Samuel Ngueping holds a BSc. in Botany and Plant Physiology from University of Buea and a MSc. in Protected Area Management from the University of Yaounde1.

The 35-year-old Cameroonian from the West Region of Cameroon has carried a number of research projects in the field of biodiversity conservation; has worked at the institute for a couple of years in different capacities. He has researched on and followed up the implementation of the Management Plan of the Campo Man National Park and has worked on Human Elephant Conflict within Mt Cameroon National Park.

He came into the ERuDeF Institute in 2013 as Program Development Officer. In 2014, he was appointed EIBiNS Coordinator/Registrar and by January 2015 was appointed deputy Director of EIBiNS.

Having served in various administrative positions at EIBiNS, Mr. Ngueping thinks the appointment has come at an opportune moment. "You learn how to do something by doing it and I am always motivated to carry out any assignment given me putting in my all and I think I have the required credential to achieve my new task" Mr. Ngueping Said.

As somebody who is widely read and has attended lots of high profile workshop on Biodiversity Conservation Mr. Samuel has a dream for the institute; "my dream is to see the institute grow and become a well renowned University for the training of biodiversity experts and a Research Centre where many will come for consultancy work, within the next 5 years".

He knows perfectly how this dream will be achieved. "I with my team have put in place a 5 year road map and strategic plan spelling out adequate steps toward realizing this dream and I am counting on them for total collaboration" Mr Ngueping said.

The new Deputy Director said EIBiNS is first of its kind in Cameroon and though the beginning is always challenging, his priority is to ensure a convivial study atmosphere for academic excellence.


By Ndimuh Bertrand Shancho

14 November 2014

French Charity Equips School Libraries In SW Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1647

Education Manager Hands books to a teacher

French Charity Man and Nature through the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has equipped and reinforced school libraries of some 15 schools around the just gazetted Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. The books worth some 3.2 million FCFA were donated recently as part of the charity's mission to promote biodiversity conservation by fostering education in forest adjacent communities. The books which included text books of all subjects in the current Cameroon syllabus were donated to schools including; Government School (GS) Bangang, GS Besali, GS Bechati, GS Egumbo, GS Folpei, GS Banti, Government Primary School(GPS) Wabane, Catholic School(CS) Nkong, GS Malegha.

During the donation ceremony which took place at the premises of GS Bechati, ERuDeF's Manager for Education, Akeh Nug told the teachers, students and parents present to use the books judiciously and help improve on the education of the kids "We are giving these text books today because we are aware of the challenges that schools in areas considered as surburbs face difficulties in preparing notes for the students. We equally want these young people to grow up tomorrow and get descent jobs rather than always resorting to the forest as farmers, trappers or hunters". Ms Akeh lauded the efforts of the schools that have taken lessons on environment seriously and used the opportunity to officially announce to them that Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary had become fully protected following the Prime Ministerial decree in September.

Reacting to the donations, the Head Teacher of GS Bechati thanked ERuDeF and her partners for equipping their libraries and said the books will go a long way in improving the standard of education in his school "We are so glad today because our library now has more books. More books in all the different subjects including Mathematics, Geography, English, etc only means many more students will benefit and this will help upgrade education and consequently environmental conservation"

He used the opportunity to pledge their full support behind the government of Cameroon, ERuDeF and partners in ensuring Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary gets all the protection it needs.

The donation is part of ERuDeF's Environmental Education Fund created to assist schools in forest adjacent communities with the ultimate goal to protect critically endangered animals such as the Cross river gorillas and others. Man and Nature has supported this initiative since from its inception.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

29 October 2014

ERuDeF’s Scholarship Breathes Life into Underprivileged

Posted in News, Views 1822

2 Million Worth Scholarship Given to 30 Schools

Booksput smile on pupils facesWith financial support from UK Charity Tusk Trust, The Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has given out some 2 million worth scholarship in the form of text books, exercise books, school materials and school fees to some 30 primary schools across the Lebialem Division. The text books comprised books of all subjects including mathematics, English language, French, Geography etc. currently being used in the Cameroon syllabus. The donation is part of ERuDeF's School Environmental Fund which promotes education in forest adjacent communities.

The highly colourful ceremonies organized by ERuDeF's Education for Sustainable Development team took place from October 15-17 in the campus of three schools, bringing together 30 primary schools.

The first event took place at Government Schoool(GS) Essoh-Attah bringing together parents, pupils and teachers from 8 schools.



SAM 1681ERuDeF's Manager for Education, Akeh Nug in her address explained that the goal behind supporting education of children in Essoh-Attah is instilling hope in the young people and making them believe that with proper formal education, they can grow up to be responsible citizens rather than resorting to the forest as hunters as trappers. "We have given books of general education because we know that with proper education, these young leaders will make proper decisions on protecting the rich forests they live adjacent to".

Reacting to the scholarship, the Head Mistress for G.S Nzanchen, Azia Barbara said she was very happy because the donation comes at a time it was most needed " When I heard my school had been selected as one of the schools to receive a scholarship from ERuDeF, I thought it was a joke. I feel very pleased because the donation comes at the right time. The school year just began and our library is empty. With the textbooks donated learning will be facilitated as teachers will be able to do research before teaching"

She also said that the exercise books and other educational materials given to her students will be an extra booster that will improve on their performance.

Also reacting to the donation, the Head Master for G.S Njentse-Essoh-Attah, Atabong Simon said " I am very happy and I wish that these books will promote the protection of the environment. The scholarship will promote the students to study and aspire to become role models in the future rather than resort to nature for livelihood thereby destroying the forest. The uniforms will also permit the students to look clean as they come to school unlike before whenthey used to wear tattered clothes because their parents could not afford clean ones.

Tayim John, a father of one of the school pupils who received the scholarship could hardly hide his joy in his words "This gesture has instilled a lot of hope in us. I am a poor farmer with very little to feed my family. I was wondering how I would sponsor my child this year. But I am happy today that ERuDeF has uplifted that load from my shoulder by providing educational materials and also paying my son's fee"

Another parent, Aletanu Raphera said she feels relieved this year as a single parent. 'I was married before, but last year when I suffered from an accident, I lost my hands and my husband abandoned me with four kids to take care on my own. Today, one of my children has been taken care of and this gives me great joy". She used the opportunity to urge members of her community-Nzanchen-Essoh-Attah to adhere to environmentally friendly activities and support ERuDeF in the gazettment of the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary.

A Class six pupil of G.S Essoh-Attah, Leke Irene who aspires to become a medical doctor said the scholarship gives her more reasons to work hard and become a better person in society. "I started school in September with no books, today I have received not just books but uniform, pens, rulers, pencils and my school fees has been paid. This motivates me to work hard and be a better person tomorrow"

The Head Teacher GS Essoh-Attah Ngulefac Cyprian lauded the initiative saying the donation comes at a time when the children needs it most. He thanked the Board and management of ERuDeF for lending a hand to schools in Essoh-Attah. "Aside from the protection of the environment ERuDeF has gone a long way to support the education of children. I wish this endeavour continues. The school does not have a library, so these books will help teachers to prepare and students to do homework. The payment of PTA development fees has been a very big problem for most pupils who are often driven from classes. Paying the fees will therefore help a great deal"

In Alou Sub-division, the book donation was received with lots of euphoria. Atem Romanus, Head Teacher of GS Atsombie in Alou Sub division said the donation is timely "The government has not provided us with the minimum package it used to provide at the beginning of the school year so these books will help facilitate the teaching-learning process. Ngemasong Ernest of GS Apang said the gesture is laudable because the libraries of most schools in rural areas are poorly equipped.

In Wabane Sub division, the reaction was the same, pupils, teachers and parents of schools in the subdivision turned out in their numbers at GS Bechati to receive books for their libraries.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

29 October 2014

A New Member in the Communication Team

Posted in News, Views 1698

Margeret Eyong

ERuDeF's Public Relations and Communication Program now has a new member. Margaret Eyong, 23, holds a B.Sc in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea. Confident, highly driven with practical hands-on client service experience, Ms Eyong comes in as Public Relations/Corporate Partnership Development Assistant and will be charged with mobilizing support for different programs at ERuDeF by seeking funding from corporations in Cameroon and beyond through corporate social responsibility.

Reacting to her new responsibility, the Manyu born said she was very thrilled when she got her letter of engagement at ERuDeF. 'I have always loved to work for an organization so diverse in its approach of biodiversity conservation. It was therefore exciting when I was given the opportunity to join ERuDeF which today is one of the leading NGOs in Cameroon"

She says her multi-culture background permits her to adapt to her new responsibility with ease.

She brings with her previous experience in public relations working with the leading agro-industrial company, the Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) Catholic Communication Service and First Technologies.

She is passionate about conservation and the environment and reveals that her experience with CDC led her to visit the suburbs which strengthened her love for nature.

Her communication skills, simple and friendly nature are assets she would bring to her work, she says. With strong organizational and administrative skills and the ability to work independently, Ms. Eyong believes she will be an asset to ERuDeF and will help create a strong relationship between ERuDeF and the corporate world with the overall vision of facilitating biodiversity conservation.

29 October 2014

Sale of Bush Meat Banned in Lebialem Division

Posted in News, Views 1699

Bush meat banned in Lebialem

An order from the Divisional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife has banned the sale of bush meat in Lebialem Division. This follows a Ministerial Decision which insists on the closing of the hunting season in the national territory.

In a coordination meeting held with the different Chiefs of Section, the Divisional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife Lebialem, MBOUI Jacques urged his Chiefs of Post to enforce the ban in their respective areas. He said that the impact of the ban on the sale of bush meat in the Division will be seen from future results obtained in bio-monitoring activities conducted in adjacent forest areas by ERuDeF and Partners.

In a recent survey of restaurants in Menji where bush meat is regularly sold, ERuDeF team found out that bush meat is no longer in the daily menu. In an interview with a restaurant operator popularly known as Mrs Obama of the "Obama Restaurant" in Menji she said "we are no longer selling bush meat because a ban was placed on the sale of bush meat in Menji, we can only sell bush meat if we obtain a license/permit from the Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife. Also the Ebola virus situation has scared people away from eating bush meat. For now I only cook chicken, beef and fish for my customers".

Enokenwa Allen Tabi

29 October 2014

ERuDeF’s Livelihood Support Helping Conservation

Posted in News, Views 1597

A livelihood beneficiary showcase his products in Ando village

There is an adage that says 'consevartion cannot be done on an empty stomach". That is to say for conservation to be successful, actors must try to provide alternative sources of livelihood to forest adjacent communities. It was against this thinking that ERuDeF instituted a program dubbed "Livelihood Support Project for Biodiversity Management". This program seeks to build the capacity of forest adjacent communities through training, provision of sustainable livelihoods and microcredit support to both individuals and groups. The overall objective is to reduce pressure and over dependence on the forest for a living and to initiate small busineses forself sustainability.

In 2013, ERuDeF gave a series of livelihood support including piglets, beehives etc to the people of Ando in Lebang Fondom of the Lebialem Division, one of the villages adjacent to the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary. A recent evaluation visit has shown that the donation has paid off.

Speaking about the effect of the donations, the leader of Ando, Chief Fondo Ajong said the donation of piglets has been very helpful to him and other villagers including Atem George Bezachong, Aminkeng Thaddeus, Kbumboh Julius Ntellah and Ngosang Aloys.

" Since I received the piglets, they have put to birth twice giving about 16 piglets and I have been able to make some money by selling these piglets. Thanks to the money I raised, I was able to pay the school fees of my children without stress and I now depend less on the forest". The leader said the other beneficiaries equally have similar success stories.

Chief Fondo on behalf of the entire village pledged utmost support and collaboration of his village in the process of making the proposed Mak-Betchou Wildlife Sanctuary a full protected site.

He equally appealled to ERuDeF through the livelihood team to diversify the livelihoods and introduce others such as Mushroom cultivation, donation of improved oil palm species, agriculture assistance with chemicals, fertilizers, goat keeping and poultry farming.

The workshop finally ended with all the participants promissing to engage in small business especially in Non Timber Forest Products in a sustainable manner while hoping for the assistance from ERuDeF.

Forbe Hodu and Njom Nji Ignatius


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