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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 www.crossrivergorillaproject.co.uk .

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.