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04 April 2013

Tusk reaffirms support for ERuDeF’s Wildlife conservation project in Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1316

Tusk reaffirms support for ERuDeF’s Wildlife conservation project in Cameroon

The Executive Director of Tusk USA, Meredith Ogilvie-Thompson, has reaffirmed the full and relentless support of her organization to the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF), in the struggle to conserve the last great apes in the Western Highlands of Cameroon Ms Thompson was speaking on March 7 as she rounded off her visit to some ERuDeF's project sites in Cameroon

She visited the Mak/Betchou and Tofala forest areas and was overwhelmed with the work going on in her words "I am amazed by the magnitude of wildlife conservation projects carried out by ERuDeF even with the limited support and scarce resources. I promise to extend Tusk's support beyond the Cross River Gorilla project to the organization as a whole". She also promised to liaise with other organizations and companies to lobby support for ERuDeF and her incredible projects.


The Tusk USA Executive Director during this visit, which equally took her to the ERuDeF's Institute of Biodiversity and Non-profit Studies, IBiNS, congratulated Louis Nkembi and his staff on the amazing projects they are carrying out.

By Ndimuh B. Shancho

04 April 2013

FFI’s David Gill visits ERuDeF

Posted in News, Views 1476

David GillThe Program Officer for Conservation Partnerships of UK Charity, Fauna & Flora International is in Cameroon for a 10-day official visit to evaluate the project on the Conservation of Threatened Trees at the Mt Cameroon area. The Conservation of Threatened Trees is a project of the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, supported by FFI. The project seeks to conserve some globally threatened tree species on the Mt Cameroon area. The program anticipates to plant 30.000 globally threatened tree species this year on the foot of the Mountain. Mr. David Gill would be in Cameroon to monitor projects on the ground and to plan for the next phase of the project.

Fauna & Flora international it would be recalled is a conservation innovator that continues to make a lasting impact on global biodiversity. Its mission is building a sustainable future for the planet, where biodiversity is effectively conserved by the people who live closest to it, supported by the global community. FFI equally has as mission to act to conserve threatened species and ecosystems worldwide, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take into account human needs. It work spans across the globe, with over 140 projects in over 40 countries, mostly in the developing world.

By Asa'a Lemawah

04 April 2013

ERuDeF bids farewell to FFI Technical Advisor to SW Cameroon

Posted in News, Views 1794

gift to NormaThe Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has in a ceremony that took place in Buea, SW Cameroon, on Monday, April 1 officially bid fare well to

Technical Advisor of UK Charity, Fauna & Flora International (FFI). Mr Norman Rigava, 45 who leaves for his homeland, Zimbabwe has been a Technical Adviser to ERuDeF for the last 21 months. During his stay in Cameroon, he was the focal point for the creation process of the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Through tact, meticulousness and diplomacy, Norman Rigava was able to move the process to its present near completion stage.

The send-off party which brought together government officials, Norman's collaborators and the entire staff of ERuDeF was therefore a way of saying "thank you" as the President/CEO of ERuDeF puts it "When I met you and worked with you, I knew I had not only met a colleague in conservation, but a brother and a friend. Your tact in handling the negotiation process of the Proposed Sanctuary gave a very big push and we hope that when next you are coming here, you would be coming to celebrate the series of fully protected areas. Thank you very much and God be with you". To add, Louis Nkembi said that Norman recently demonstrated his intense attachment to the organization when he declared his intention to be one of the board of trustees for ERuDeF's Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies (IBiNS).

Also speaking during the ceremony, ERuDeF's Director of Administration, Ms Seemndze Ita thrilled the audience with an in depth profile of who Mr. Norman is. She regretted his leaving but insisted that, given that the world has become a global village, Norman leaves but would remain with ERuDeF through constant communication. She concluded with a breath-taking song calling on the Lord to be with Norman wherever he goes. Also speaking during the event, the SW Regional chief of service in charge of Wildlife and protected area at the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Eboule Emmanuel praised Norman Rigava for his assiduity in the making the people of Tofala understand the importance of conservation. This was followed by the presentation of a send-off gift from the organization and from staff of ERuDeF.

On his part, the father of three could not hide his joy in his words "I feel so happy today. I came to Cameroon and met a brother in the person of Louis. I admire him very much for his diligence in managing the affairs of ERuDeF and I know strongly that in some few years to come, ERuDeF would be one of the leading conservation organizations in the country. I am already part of ERuDeF and I know that even though I leave, I remain with them"

By Regina Fonjia Leke

04 April 2013

The Pinyin Gorilla killing: ERuDeF/ government probe the whole truth

Posted in News, Views 2003

ERuDeF team/Ministry of forestry staff visit scene of Gorilla Killing in Pinyin

The Pinyin Gorilla killing: ERuDeF/ government probe the whole truth

The Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF, in collaboration with the Northwest Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife, NW MINFOF, have launched fresh investigations into the Silver-back gorilla killed March 1, 2013 in Pinyin, a community in Santa subdivision, NW Cameroon.

The rather detailed study commenced March 28, 2013, as ERuDeF CEO, Louis Nkembi and the NW MINFOF Delegate, Mrs. Mbah Grace, led a team of primatologists, collaborators to the Pinyin village.

In a bid to "get from the horse's mouth" what transpired, the ERuDeF/MINFOF team organized a working session at the Pinyin Fon Palace bringing together the traditional ruler of Pinyin, Fon Ayaba Godfred II and the lady who sighted the gorilla while working in her farm, Mrs. Judith Benue.

During this session, Fon Ayaba gave an account of the circumstances that led to the killing of this human cousin underscoring the fact that the animal was posing lots of threats to his people and the Gendarmerie Commander then gave them the go-ahead. Madam Judith Benue, on her part, narrated how she saw the gorilla, escaped and raised alarm in the village refuting allegations of the rumours that had spread before of rape threat from the gorilla.

The NW Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Mrs. Mbah Grace, reacted to these, highlighting the legal implication of the killing of the Silver-back gorilla. The Delegate explained that the silver back gorilla, killed in Pinyin, falls within category 'A' of protected animal species alongside Chimpanzees and others. Thus, anybody who kills them is liable to a jail term of 1 to 3 years or a fine of 3 Million francs and above. She used the session to educate the Fon on wildlife and biodiversity conservation.

The CEO and of ERuDeF, Louis Nkembi, in a rather solemn mood, regretted the fact that the villagers and the local authority did not give the administration in charge of forestry and wildlife a chance to rescue this human cousin. He reiterated the fact that the killing of the gorilla has come to further confirm the existence of gorillas in proposed Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary. He cautioned the Fon on the exact action they should take when such a thing happens.

After the working session, Mrs. Benue led the ERuDeF/NW MINFOF team to where she sighted the gorilla and the riparian forest, where the gorilla was finally killed. The distance between these two places was close to 4KM.

From the different sites, ERuDeF/ NW MINFOF team visited the Pinyin Gendarmerie Post. The Gendarmerie Commander, who preferred anonymity said he was he was told the animal was a monkey but refuted mentioning whether he ordered the killing or not.

After the trip, the investigative team visited a taxidermist in Mulang-Bamenda, where the gorilla is under embalmment, and collected hair samples for scientific studies

After the rather exploratory outing , the ERuDeF team holds that the gorilla was killed out of excitement on the part of the Pinyin people and not self defense as has hitherto been reported. They argued that it should have been self defense if Mrs. Benue killed the animal when it was advancing toward her and not after the animal had escaped and sought refuge in a riparian forest several KMs away. In this regard, ERuDeF and the Northwest Forestry and Wildlife Delegation agreed to work closely in sensitizing forest adjacent communities about wildlife conservation and to carry out further studies on the possible existence of other group of gorillas around where the silver back was killed.

By Ndimuh B. Shancho

23 March 2013

A Tofala Cross River Gorilla Silver-back killed in Pinyin, NW Cameroon. A call for Action!

Posted in News, Views 3911

Cross River Gorilla killed in cold bloodThe Cameroonian Conservation Non-Profit, the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, (ERuDeF) announces the disappointing killing on March 1st, of a Silver-back Cross River Gorilla en provenance from the Proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in the Lebialem Highlands, SW Cameroon. The killing of this over 40-year silver-back was carried out by a well intentioned Pinyin community in Santa Sub Division of NW Cameroon. According to Neba Bedes, ERuDeF's Wildlife expert dispatched to the scene on 5th March 2013, the Silver-back killing was ordered by the Chief of Gendarmerie Brigade(local government security) based in Pinyin in the name of "self-defense" without conducting the necessary security checks to ensure that this critically endangered animal is not causing any security dangers to the local people.

The presence of this Silver-back was reported by a local teacher who was going to her farm very early in the morning on March 1st 2013 at about 1Km away from the village. It is alleged over 45 cartridges were used as well as several blows with clubs and stones on the Gorilla, leaving the Gorilla in a pool of his own blood.

The death of this Silver-back remains a very big loss not just to ERuDeF, but to the conservation world at large, given that this ape is Africa's rarest and most threatened primate and one of the world's 25 most threatened wildlife species. Only about 300 of them live in the world between the Nigeria-Cameroon border Region.

Earlier on, the Regional Delegate for Forestry and Wildlife for the North West Region, Mbah Grace regretted the loss of this totally protected human cousin and re-iterated the efforts of her ministry to increase the community sensitization in the border areas of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary based in the NW Region.

In 2004, a new sub population of the Cross River Gorillas was discovered by ERuDeF's scientists in the now proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Since 2010, the Government of Cameroon through the technical assistance of ERuDeF has been working to complete the creation of this very important Sanctuary, which is home to about 40 Cross River Gorillas and over 150 Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees and a range of other endangered species of fauna and flora.

Only a very small number of Cross River Gorillas have been sighted in Tofala. The most recent was on the 24th February, 2013 by the Divisional Officer for Wabane Sub Division in Besali forest on his way to Menji. The presence of this Gorilla about 33km away from Tofala is a good proof to explain the fact that the Tofala Gorillas are not isolated and still maintain a genetic gene flow with the other Gorilla sub populations in the Takamanda forest area, as few Gorilla sightings have been recorded between Tofala and Takamanda forests.

The killing of this Silver-back in Pinyin provides a more glaring proof about the plight o f this elusive wildlife species, that there is no hope for them out of formal protected areas. The migration of this killed silver back is also a testimony of the intense human pressure that the Gorillas in the Tofala forests are facing. This pressure includes very high forest conversion to farms and poaching.

ERuDeF and its partners are thus urging the Government of Cameroon to speed up the Process to complete the creation of the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary and the other proposed sites in the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex. Otherwise, the world might just be bidding farewell to the last 60 Gorillas and over 400 Chimpanzees living in the forest of the Lebialem Highlands and its corridors.The Skull of this Silver back should be retrieved by the authorities of the North West Regional Delegation of Forestry and Wildlife for Conservation and scientific reasons.

05 March 2013

ERuDeF women brace up to commemorate International women's day

Posted in News, Views 1622

Ahead of the 8th of March internationally recognized as a day set aside to celebrate the woman, the female staff in Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF are already preparing to join their counterparts to commemorate the event. ERuDeF's Director of Administration, Ms. Ita Nawom explains the level of preparedness and what the scenario for this year would look like "We are ready to go out there and march with our Gorillas, parade with messages to explain to the world that the woman has got to play a major part in the conservation of nature. She tills the earth, needs fuel wood for cooking and a lot more things that have to do with nature. She is indispensable in the fight against global warming. Our boards will not only bear messages to conserve our flagship species but will highlight the role of the woman in the fight against climate change"

05 March 2013

Over 150 women schooled on their rights to access and benefit to natural resources

Posted in News, Views 1256

Tofala Women were present!

Over 150 women schooled on their rights to access and benefit to natural resources

Preparations towards the celebration of the 28th edition of the International women's day are already on top gear. Just almost 3 days to go, over 150 women drawn from 15 groups in the South West Region of Cameroon have been schooled on their rights to access and benefit from the rich natural resources ranging from forests to non- forests products.

The event which took place on the 4th of March at the Youth Center in Buea was organized by the German Cooperation in Cameroon the GIZ. The event was in line with the organization's sixth edition of the "Strong Women and girls" organized every March to mark the celebrations of the international women's day and help empower women in various aspects. This year the objectives of the event was to inform women on how they can have access and benefit from natural resources and to empower them take their own strategic decisions to be self employed. The event brought together women involved in different arts and crafts who displayed their competences in the transformation of natural resources into finished goods. Amongst these were forest products such as "bush mango, njansah, eru" just to name these. Women equally demonstrated how they use palm nuts for the production of soap and other detergents.

Tofala women 2When time came for demonstrations, two women representing the Tofala Women's group from the Lebialem highlands stole the show with their demonstrations on how they use palm oil to produce soap and how they use palm kernel oil and other ingredients to produce other detergents. The president of the group, Ms Sophie Awundiyi explained that the production of detergents using natural products is an age long activity. "I started doing this a long time ago. I have learnt to use palm nuts to produce soap, sell in the market and in turn use it to take care of my family. Even other forest products like njansah and country onions, I harvest with the authorization of forest guards, transform some and feed my family"

Other Women groups demonstrated how they could use cassava to produce flour and chips while others showed their competences in the transformation of fruits into fruit juice.

Cross section of women taking part in the podiumSpeaking at the start of a podium discussion, the GIZ Co-ordinator of the Strong women and girls program, Katharina Pfeifer welcomed all the participants and explained that the aim of the occasion was really to educate women on their rights to these natural resources which sometimes they are discriminate upon by men and help foster gender equality. The SW Divisional delegate for Women's empowerment and the family, Ms Moffah Juditha Luma, on her part lauded the initiative and urged women to stand up to their rights to land, water and the resources therein.

The celebrations were also in line with the 2010 Nagoya Protocol which stresses on local community's rights access and benefit sharing to natural resources for sustainable development.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

05 March 2013

Integrating dance and conservation: ERuDeF’s new approach

Posted in News, Views 1455

Cultural groups dance for the protection of the Cross River Gorilla

Just like conservation cannot be done on empty stomachs, so too, it cannot be done while ignoring the cultures of the people. The Environment and Rural Development Foundation has thus taken another angle in approaching conservation. This began on Saturday 23, 2013 in Buea with different groups performing different cultural dances. These were the "Asamba" dance, the "Asoh njang" dance, a performance from the Lewoh Cutural and Development Association and the Lebang Cultural and Development Meeting.

These dances would be publicized abroad and get tourists and volunteers discover the conservation sites in the Country through the people's culture. These dances it is hoped will give a new impetus to conservation efforts and equally help towards developing aspects of cultural tourism in conservation. Animal species are intrinsically linked to the cultures of the people and it becomes imperative that these two be incorporated to help each other.

Dances, it should be remembered can go a long way to help in the conservation of species in the forest. The Bakweri people in the South West of Cameroon, have the Maale dance which reenacts the activities of the elephant. It is a denizen of the Mount Cameroon Forest and even if there are threats on the elephant, this dance helps in conserving the species. The Nweh Mundani in the Lebialem Highlands of South West Cameroon people pound their nuts to the rhythmic sound of the Chimp or Gorilla. The Dance for the Earth initiative by IUCN was in a guise to develop this. This program when developed will permit volunteers coming to visit the project sites to enjoy some different cultural performances of the different tribes of Cameroon before they go to the forest. This will further act as incentive for the traditional people to preserve these dances and pass them on to younger generations.

By Ita Nawom

05 March 2013

The Cross River Gorillas are the most endangered great ape in the world and they need to be protected… Executive Director, Tusk USA

Posted in News, Views 1301

Ms Thompson grants interview at ERuDeF's head office, shortly before her departure to field

The United States Executive Director of UK Charity, Tusk Trust, Ms Meredith Ogilvie- Thompson, has re-iterated the need to protect and preserve one of world's most endangered great ape, the Cross River Gorilla in Cameroon. Ms Thompson was speaking on Friday 1st of March, in Buea, SW Cameroon, at the start of her one-week tour of the Cross River Gorilla Project in the Lebialem Highlands manned by the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF. She said even though Tusk was visiting the Cameroon Cross River Gorilla Project for the first time, Tusk was very proud with the work that is being done. "We at Tusk have been very proud to support the work that has been done on the Cross River Gorilla and other threatened species in Cameroon and are very pleased to make this very first visit. I hope that by coming to Cameroon and understanding what is going on, Tusk would become more engaged and it would help to strengthen the collaboration between Tusk and ERuDeF"

Ms Thompson explained that one of the things that Tusk finds so important in terms of achieving conservation is education and community development. "To see how the community is able to understand the work ERuDeF is doing and how they support the work is a top priority for us." Ms Thompson explained that by coming to Cameroon and having hands on experience, her hope is to see how the local people are involved in conservation and to understand the extent to which environmental education can help especially young people understand why it is important to preserve their natural heritage.

"Tusk is really is interested in supporting the Cross River Gorilla program because this particular sub species of Gorillas are the most endangered in the world and they need to be protected and preserved. We feel that in order to achieve this, we need to support community and education. We are looking to see how to work with local organizations like ERuDeF to improve on the people's livelihoods and educate them so they would in turn preserve these rare species because the biggest goal is keeping the Gorillas safe" she went on.

Ms Thompson will be in Cameroon for one week. During this time, she would have the possibility of monitoring these species in the proposed Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary which is home to over 40 critically Cross River Gorillas and 200 Cameroon-Nigeria Chimpanzees.

Tusk Trust it would be recalled is a 21- year old UK headquartered charity dedicated to protecting wildlife, supporting communities and promoting education across Africa. Tusk supports over 45 projects in over 20 African Countries.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

01 March 2013

Trees Cameroon announces award for best agro forestry farm in 2013

Posted in News, Views 1512

Promoting agroforestry in Cameroon

Women dance to the news of the award and vow to get the prize in their division

"Plant a minimum of 5000 trees in your farm and get a cash prize of 300.000FCFA". These were the words of the Cameroon Country Director of US Charity Trees for the Future as he announced the 2013 contest for the best agroforestry farm in every division of operation in Cameroon. Mr. Nkembi Louis made this announcement to all the farming groups he, alongside officials of Trees for the Future visited during a week-long tour from the 8th -15th of February to evaluate the progress of agro forestry technologies in the South West, West and North West of Cameroon. Mr. Nkembi explained that the essence of launching this award was to motivate farmers incorporate agroforestry systems and abandon chemical fertilizers.

This prize, Mr. Nkembi explained will be given not to individuals, rather to groups where each member is able to plant a minimum of 5000 trees in their farm. He explained that the award is one per division and it would be given to only one group in any Division. The Country Director for Trees for the Future told the farmers that they need not border about getting seeds, for a team of agroforestry technicians will from February visit each farm to give them seeds of forest species such as Acacia, Caliandra and Leucania and teach them how to plant and organize their farms.

The announcement was received with a lot of joy by farmers who all pledged to plant even more trees. Mr. Ayong Thomas, a farmer in Kugwe-Batibo in the North West promised to mobilize his group members and have every member plant a minimum of 10.000 trees, so they could grab the award.

The women also received news of the award with great delight. Ms Teke Janet, a member of a focus group said the award would act as a very good motivation for them "I will rally all our members to plant more agroforestry species. Already, we are witnessing a lot of improvement in our soils due to the trees we planted. Our maize, groundnut and beans have all increased this year. This award is an additional motivation for us because we the women want to take the lead in agroforestry" The reaction in another village in the Muyuka Sub-division in the South West Region, where Trees for the Future has introduced agroforestry technologies, was the same. Farmers in Owe were excited at the announcement and promised to plant more trees. Mr. Ebai Romanus, leading a small group in Owe village said "I have seen the gains in agroforestry. I used the leaves of acacia as natural manure for my plantains. The bunches were very big and some of my neighbours said I was using black magic to have such harvest". With the announcement of this award, Mr. Ebai plans to increase his capacity and bring many more people to practice agroforestry.

By Regina Fonjia Leke

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