Nine months after the start-up of the PPI project implemnted by the NGO CEM, 22 false gharial babies obtained through the recovery and conservation of eggs have been identified 125 km from the project area, Grand-Béréby. Proof of a tangible impact beyond the target area !
As part of the launch of the activities of the crocodile conservation and ecotourism project Mecistops cataphractus, financed by the PPI, an opening ceremony was held in Grand-Béréby, Côte d’Ivoire, on 08 September 2022.
The ceremony was attended by the administrative authorities of Grand-Béréby and San-Pédro, stakeholders in the ecotourism sector and the traditional authorities of the Grand-Béréby villages involved in the project. The aim was to present the project and raise awareness of the conservation of this critically endangered species and the potential for ecotourism development.
In addition, a number of awareness-raising activities for local communities were carried out in the villages involved in the project.
These actions have enabled information to be disseminated among the administrative, traditional and local authorities of Grand-Béréby and well beyond its borders.
Indeed, 9 months after the start of the project’s activities, information was passed on to us by the Water and Forestry services of Grand-Béréby, contacted by those of the cantonment of Grabo (120 km from Grand-Béréby), according to which a resident of the village of Mahino, located 145 km from Grand-Béréby, was in possession of baby Mecistops cataphractus or false gharial obtained through the recovery and conservation of eggs.
Although outside the project area, a mission was carried out there. We found 22 small false ghavials very well preserved by Mr KAMI TARE PIERRE. He had this to say:
“Young people from my village discovered 25 crocodile eggs in my field when they were working there. The information was passed on to me, so I asked them not to touch the nest. To protect the eggs from poaching, I had to stand guard for 3 months. When the eggs were ready to hatch, I heard cries coming from the nest, so I brought the eggs back to my home and built a shelter so that the future young could grow up there in complete safety“.
It should be noted that Mr Kami Tare Pierre, who is passionate about protecting biodiversity and is also the chief of the village of Mahino, has expressed his wish that conservation projects for endangered species, such as the one financed by the PPI in Grand-Béréby, or for the conservation of MEC turtles, should also see the light of day in his village.
Discussions are currently underway with the Water and Forests authorities and the Wildlife and Hunting Resources Directorate with a view to using these baby false gharials to bolster the populations of the voluntary nature reserve at the mouth of the Dodo, as well as setting up a conservation project for this species in the coming years in this area.
For the NGO CEM, this discovery, halfway through the project, represents successful communication and an advantage for future activities.