Volunteers from all over the world are working hand in hand with Cameroonian conservationists to save Cross River gorillas and chimpanzees from extinction. In total six new protected areas will be established to protect vital habitat. The reserves will give much-needed protection to some of the world's most endangered species.
Over the past few years, international volunteers travelled thousands of kilometres to join the project for some weeks or months. While in Cameroon, they assist with great apes surveys and habitat mapping, using technologies like GIS, GPS and camera traps. This resulted in draft notices with clear geographical specifications for the proposed protected areas boundaries.
Volunteers also take part in conservation education in primary schools and community centres, raising awareness among children and their parents about the need to protect great apes and other endangered species.
The programme led to designating new proposed protected areas across the Lebialem Highlands Conservation Complex. This includes the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Ellioti Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the Tofala-Mone Forest Corridor, Mt Bamboutos Integral Ecological Reserve, Nyi-tebong/Fuagonkem Hills and the Nkingkwa Hill Forest Reserve.
As part of the official gazettement process, communities receive training in collaborative forest management and livelihood development. These activities should bolster post-project efforts to effectively and sustainably manage the new conservation areas.