16 Aug 2023
Suppressing human threats to conserve Pangolins in Cameroon's Protected Areas is hampered by insufficient information on human activities and ineffective and slow response measures. Most pangolin projects nowadays concentrate on population estimation, and behavioural ecology neglecting direct pangolin welfare by suppressing human threats, though pangolins are given the highest protection level on international and national wildlife legislation.
In 2018, we studied the status and threats to pangolins in DDNP. The research provided information on pangolin ecology; and species using camera traps (Melle et al., 2019). During these field activities, we encountered planted snares, hunters’ houses, carcasses of pangolins (scales and internal organs), bullet shells, encroached farmlands, and logging activities in the park. There is a deficiency in biomonitoring and surveillance to suppress these threats and discourage pangolin sales in local bushmeat markets.
This project will train 06 local field guides with good local ecological knowledge and proven commitment to conservation using SMART for surveillance and threat suppression with eco guards; conduct biomonitoring of pangolins in the rainy and dry seasons using camera traps to assess the current ecological status of pangolins in Deng-Deng National Park to better understand the factors affecting seasonal migrations of the pangolin species; and also sensitize the local community about wildlife and environmental laws.
A community animation football involving two teams named “Giant Pangolins and White Bellied Pangolins” will help to boost the sense of belonging and also create a psychological deter in hunting and killing pangolins.
Over 300 students that will be actively involved in the conservation of pangolins through Environmental clubs in 02 secondary schools and 02 primary schools will be inculcated with a positive conservation mindset that will enable them to be future ambassadors for protecting their biodiversity. This activity will be a positive move as conservation education is quite limited in secondary schools in Cameroon and lesser students take up conservation courses at university levels.
Project outputs will provide resourceful insights to the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) in enhancing their field surveillance and decision-making processes. A scientific article will be published in a peer-review journal to unveil the threats and conservation status of pangolins in Deng-Deng and to showcase the efficacy of local guides in the conservation process.