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25 February 2013

Wabane students declare commitment to be ambassadors of conservation

Posted in News, Views 1698

WAW picIn line with section IV of the UN millennium development goal, which calls for the intensification of collective efforts in the management, conservation and sustainable development of forest resources, students belonging to some ten environmental clubs in the Wabane subdivision, SW Cameroon, have taken various commitments to fight against deforestation and wildlife exploitation in the proposed Tofala forest area.

The commitments were made during a week-long activities marking the Environment and Rural Development Foundation, ERuDeF, annual Wildlife Advocacy Week, WAW. The event officially sponsored by ERuDeF's French partner, Man and Nature held from February 11 to 15, 2013 in Lower and Upper Wabane to increase wildlife conservation awareness with special emphasis on the great apes.

The wildlife advocacy week was launched in Government Primary School Bechati, during celebrations marking the 47th national Youth Day. Environmental club pupils / students from 6 primary, 3 nursery and 2 secondary schools in this area, marched pass the grand stand with unique conservation messages. Some of the clubs brandished painting of some protected wildlife species, conspicuous amongst which were Chimpanzees and Gorillas, while others marched with green cards denoting their support for environmental protection and symbols of trees, chanting conservation songs depicting their desire for a green economy. It would be recalled that the Green Card for environmental conservation is an initiative of ERuDeF, inspired from the red card internationally used for the fight against racism, child labour and the fight against HIV.

Having launched the WAW, the ERuDeF education team organized seminars and workshops with environmental clubs in both Lower and Upper Wabane and projected some documentaries on tree planting and the activities of some wildlife species in the forest. Some of these were "Hope in a changing climate", "Chimpanzee" and "Titus, the Gorilla King" They equally had constructive interactions with these future conservationists on the short and long term implications of conserving the country's wildlife species and biodiversity. The seminars and workshops culminated in the production of over 40 local post cards with drawings of some wildlife species and birds, and the posting of over 300 posters with some protected wildlife species and reasons for their conservation in communities around the Proposed Tofala wildlife Sanctuary

After the workshops and seminars, these environmental club pupils/students, committed themselves to protecting their environment as well as conserving protected wildlife species. Making allusion to the 2003 landslide in Wabane that destroyed both property and farm lands, Paul Ketu, representing the G TC Wabane environmental club, vowed to alert his parents, brothers and sisters on the need to plant more trees in their community. Prisca Neba and Brice Nebunyi, from Government High School Mudani environmental club on their part, pledged their club's commitment to sensitize the community against bush burning, farming and hunting/trapping in the Tofala forest protected area. They equally supplicated trees from ERuDeF to plant in their communities as a first step toward landscape restoration and reducing the impact of climate change in their community.

In a rather solemn tone, Hilton Tanga representing the Government Secondary School Bechati Environmental Club, said they will intensify sensitization against indiscriminate trapping/and hunting in the Bechati village and other neighboring villages. "we want our younger ones and the future generation to see animals like Gorilla, Chimpanzee and others physically and not only see on posters and television and thus must conserve them" he further promised. Affirming this, Hezekiah Nkob of Government Primary School Bechati environmental club revealed that these species of animals (Gorilla and Chimpanzee) are not found in Europe. Therefore protecting them will aid increase the touristic potential of their community. He promised advising all and sundry to emulate the western world, who despite all odds, have conserved most of their animals species like Lion, Zebra and others.

The WAW activities were too thrilling that the administrative representative to the Bechati Youth Day Centre, Mr.Richard Nankeng, who is also the second deputy mayor of the Wabane council, could not hide his feelings. I think ERuDeF is doing a lot in conservation. I was moved when I saw the environmental clubs marched pass the grand stand with very edifying conservation messages.....In fact, I can only wish them the best in this venture" he said.

Betrand S. Ndimuh and Mahah Vladimire