Preliminary Assessment of Chimpanzees and other Wildlife in the Somie Forest, Cameroon

Adrian Odi Eban-Odi

Somie is one of the border villages between Cameroon and Nigeria, located in Bankin sub-division, of the Mayo Banyo Division, Adamawa Region, Cameroon. The area forms part of the Western Cameroon highlands ecoregion comprising of montane forest and grassland patches. This area is known for its exceptional level of endemism in all taxa. Although the fauna and flora diversity of the area is poorly known, the overall tree diversity in the ecoregion decreases with increase in elevation, containing exceptional levels of avian endemism with seven endemic species, 11 threatened species of small mammals, and a small population Chimpanzees. Over the years, groups of chimpanzees have been repeatedly seen in the highland forest of Somie.

Chimpanzee nest in Somie. © Adrian Odi Eban-Odi

Chimpanzee nest in Somie. © Adrian Odi Eban-Odi

This project seeks to confirm the presence of Chimpanzees and other wildlife species in the Somie Forest, assess and quantify Chimpanzee habitat, and educate the local population on the importance of the conservation of wildlife.

Chimpanzees are classified as endangered by IUCN and suffers from degradation caused by human pressure through uncoordinated clearing and burning for agriculture, hunting, livestock grazing, fuel wood extraction, uncontrolled bush fires and commercial tree back harvesting.

Estimating the abundance of Chimpanzees and other wildlife in the Somie forest will provide information on the presence of endangered species in the Somie landscape. This will also assist in the long-term objective of CBBM in collaboration with the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife to create a protected area in the landscape for the conservation of endangered species.

Assessing the habitat of Chimpanzees in the Somie forest is to improve in the management of the habitats to benefit the species.

The awareness campaigns will enlighten the community on the benefits of conservation of wildlife and also learn other alternative means of livelihood. It will go a long way in building trust between the community and conservationist willing to conduct future research in the Somie landscape.

Creating awareness and educating the population will help enhance community’s knowledge on the need to protect the environment, existing wildlife laws and promote a positive behavioural change towards the environment.

Header: Somie mountain forest. © Adrian Odi Eban-Odi

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