• Threatened species conservation

Towards community-led conservation of endangered primates in Ebo forest, Cameroon

ICON/BTN/arrow/2/arrow-down Created with Sketch. Towards community-led conservation of endangered primates in Ebo forest, Cameroon

The proposed Ebo National Park (ENP, 1 110km2), located approximately at 60 km form Douala, in the Littoral Region is one of the most important remaining tracks of closed-canopy forest in the Gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot where Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees (Pan troglydtes ellioti, EN), gorillas – of unknown taxonomic affinity (Gorilla gorilla sp., CR), elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis, EN), drills (Mandrillus leacophaeus, EN) and Preuss’ red colobus (Piliocolobus preussi, CR) can be found.

 

In 2007, WWF and San Diego Zoo Global initiated the process for the creation of a national park, but WWF gave up after 6 years and to date the Ebo National Park has not yet been classified by the Government of Cameroon. The ENP is mainly threatened by poaching and illegal trafficking but also by illegal logging and the establishment of an extensive plantation of oil palms in the buffer zone in the northwest. This plantation has not only destroyed essential primate populations and habitat, but risks exacerbating hunting and habitat destruction as many people who flood the area for low-paid jobs might seek to complement their meagre incomes through hunting and subsistence farming.

 

The manager of the association Ebo Forest Research Project, Dr. Abwe, is the secretary general of the African Primatological Society and also an executive committee member of the Great Ape Section (SGA) of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group. The ultimate goals of the project are to develop the future Ebo National Park into a well-supported and managed protected area, and to establish the Ebo forest as a showcase for primate research and conservation base in the Gulf of Guinea biodiversity hotspot.