Environmental actors in the Northwest Region, led by the NW Regional Delegation of Environment, Protection of Nature and Sustainable Development have made an adventurous trip to the Tubah Upland forest in Kedjom Keku Forest hosting some of the few remaining species of the endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzees, endemic and endangered bird species such as the bannerman’s turaco.
The visit was in line with commemorative activities marking the 2016 edition of world Environment Day celebrated under the theme ‘ZERO TOLERANCE TO ILLEFGAL WILDLIFE TRADE with the slogan GO WILD FOR LIFE.
The Tubah Upland Forest in kedjom keku in the Bamenda Highlands are one of the few remaining locations on the globe, where this type of rare forest can still be found. It is one of the richest, but also most endangered biotopes on the Earth. It’s categorized as a Biodiversity hotspot, a place with high concentration of rare, endangered and almost extinct endemic species.
The fieldtrip witnessed the participation of environmental stakeholders with SURUDEV actively participating in all the activities.
The team departed at about 10 am to the Tubah Upland Forest. Upon arrival, the team met with the leader of kedjom keku who cried foul about the high levels of deforestation and destruction of watershed areas as a quest of firewood, pasture and farmland. Also SURUDEV team with the other stakeholders gathered at a small hall in the forest. Mr. Martin a Researcher from Czech Republic who has been working in the Tubah Upland Forest for 5yrs gave a talk about the increasing rate of deforestation and the fast disappearance of endemic species due to the encroachment of farmers and grazers. He said the area is also quite important for bird diversity with a high percentage being endemic like the colourful, Tauraco bennermani. He also said Tubah Upland Forest is a home high level of endemic species we can even find in other realms – reptile, amphibian and insects. In order to combat deforestation Mr. Michael in collaboration with the community have planted trees over 4 hectares of land and were currently operating a nursery.
Another stakeholder gave a talk about the rate of deforestation and inadequate legislation to enforce laws in the forest domain. The regional delegate of the ministry of the environment, nature protection and sustainable development (MINEPDEP) welcomed the team once more and cautioned the team to be precautionary.
Mr. Martin coordinated SURUDEV team and other stakeholders during the hiking. The poultry was shown which was next to a fish pond and the fowl dung from the poultry was use to feed the fishes in the pond. Just opposite the pond is the school Mr. Martin’s NGO build for the community and the school field. Also, the gardens were the people cultivated corn, beans, carrot among other crops using organic manure was shown. During the hike, different forest portions were seen that had been cut down for firewood or burnt for farming or grazing. Cows could be seen grazing at different portions in the forest.
These different cases had been reported but nothing was done with the culprits. The view of the Tubah Upland Forest is that of a typical montane forest. The beautiful landscapes views give it its aesthetic value. At high attitudes the beautiful lowland of the grass field could be appreciated. The supposed habitat of the Cameroon Nigeria chimpanzee was shown down the steep valleys. A family photo was taken with some of the people in the community that followed us hiking. The hike was about 4 hours and at the end, SURUDEV team and other stakeholders gathered at the forest school yard for light refreshments.The traditional dish of kedjom keku people which is corn fufu and huckleberry was served with palm wine and juice. The occasion was graced by vanilla city who presented a song on the environment. The Regional Delegate of MINEPDEP gave his last words of gratitude and appreciation to the community and to every stakeholder including SURUDEV who took part in the fieldtrip. Some stakeholders continue camping that night to continue the following day with the tree planting activity while SURUDEV and others returned back late that same evening.
By Inokoh Biliet