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The Sustainable Run for Development better known by its acronym SURUDEV has launched a new project which will open fresh perspectives into the conservation of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pantroglodyttes ellioti). The project dubbed ‘Habitat Restoration of the Nigerian-Cameroon Chimpanzee” was launched in Fundong, home to the Kom-wum forest of the Bamenda highland which hosts this rare species on February 26, 2016.

The event brought together the entire project team from SURUDEV headed by the Executive Director, Kari Jackson and government authorities including the First Deputy Mayor of Fundong Council, Divisional Delegates of the Environment and Forestry/Wildlife, Principals and Head Teachers of school and of course members of the community.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of SURUDEV, Kari Jackson explained that objective of the launching ceremony was to meet with the formal and informal leaders, chiefs and discuss how this project will run and how their different contributions would be vital in the conservation of the P.T ellioti

It would be recalled that the Kom-wum forest is one of the few remaining natural habitats of the Pt.ellioti (Nigerian-Cameroon) chimp and thus a center of attraction for conservation. Metang, Baisu, are communities close to the Kom-wum forest. They are extremely rural forest community with its inhabitants relying or surviving mainly on the forest and with a population of more than 700 people, there is bound to be exploitation. Their major activities are farming and hunting (agriculture) which are characteristics of most rural livelihood. By this style of life, the forest is no doubt abused and over exploited which is what has led to a population decline of the chimps in the last decade. But because there is a need to conserve and protect our biodiversity and environment, SURUDEV via its project “Habitat Restoration of the Nigerian-Cameroon Chimpanzee”, the organization has decided to reach the communities closest to the forest and empower them on a sustainable style of living without affecting the forest and also to protect the Pt ellioti for their own posterity and for the world at large.

In this light, after the launching ceremony, Participants were introduced to sustainable market gardening, afro-forestry, tree planting, green school, cane rat keeping, and bee keeping as alternative means to survive without relying greatly on the forest resources. An informative chat with stickers was later shared to the participants for better understanding and also to indicate how realistic the project will be.

The participants happily embraced the project and looked forward to working with SURUDEV. A family picture was taken after the work shop and certain recommendations were made by participants notably; the need for more sensitization, need for forest guards and the need for a forest management committee.

Written by Mongo Victor Mbabit