Thursday, April 22, 2010

WWF in Big Leap for Creation of Ebo National Park

A low attitude fly-over to fully appreciate the potentials of the Ebo forest area in Cameroon took place last February 2, 2010.WWF technicians who have over the years co-ordinated efforts to prepare Ebo for a National park designation accompanied government officials in charge of the environment and conservation issues as well as a representative of the Dutch government in Cameroon to catch a life-time glimpse of the biodiversity rich forests.

Local community leaders and the media were key components of the fly-over. “The aim of this mission is for the key stake-holders to have a comprehensive view of the proposed park, as well as further raise awareness about the conservation importance of this Congo basin biodiversity hot spot,” said Atanga Ekobo, Manager of the WWF programme in the area.

After two years of on-the-ground scientific studies, research and wide consultation with local communities as well as administrative authorities, WWF through its Coastal Forest Programme, by this eye witness show, took one more important step towards having the biodiversity rich Ebo Forest designated as one of the country’s key National Parks.

The Ebo landscape cuts across two administrative divisions; The Sanaga Maritime and the Nkam divisions. The proposed Ebo forest national park is one of the most important remaining tracts of closed-canopy forest in the Littoral region. It covers a surface area of 1112880 hectares of lowland and mountain forest and contains one of the most complete populations of a wide variety of forest mammals in Cameroon.

Apart from forest elephants, a small but important gorilla population, and a healthy chimpanzee community, there are nine other diurnal primate species in serious decline elsewhere, such as drills and Preuss’red colobus. However, this forest is facing serious threats as poaching and illegal logging all of which justify the urgency to safeguard it.

Ground work to enable the designation of the Ebo Forest as a protected area has been coordinated by WWF Cameroon Country Programme Office, through WWF Coastal Forests (SAWA) Programme for the past two years with funding mainly from WWF Netherlands.

By Ndi Eugene Ndi

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