Hunters, Farmers, Students Pledge Support for Conservation of Endangered Birds
History was made early this February when for the first time hunters, farmers and students all came out in their number in one forum in Ako-subdivision, Donga-Mantung Division, pledging their support for the conservation of the endangered birds of the Bamenda Highlands. “I have been hunting for over 10 years today, but I am here because I think it is time for us to join our hands together to protect our forest resources for the future generation, especially because the population of the bird are fast reducing’ Theophille Yembe, hunter told this Reporter. Other fellow hunters, farmers and students demonstrated similar commitment as a team from the non-profit Sustainable Run for Development(SURUDEV) marched into Ako with over 2000 posters carrying pictures of the different endangered birds.
Just o recall that the Western Highlands of Cameroon is home to some 35 restricted-range endemic bird species, the third richest Eco region for birds in mainland Africa. The Ako-Mbembe forest is one of the many forests area SURUDEV and its partners has been working to preserve the remaining population of the bird through research, sensitization and advocacy.
During the event which brought together over 200 people, students, hunters, and communities members were sensitized on the needs and reasons to protect and conserve birds so that their children or future generations will be able to appreciate them too.
This took place at the GBHS Ako, PS Ako and GS Ako school campuses. Seven different birds on the conservation chart produced were distributed to students in the respective schools. There after the Executive Director of SURUDEV, Kari Jackson further enriched the minds of the students with adequate knowledge and information about the various birds and how to protect them. Identification was his first remark about keeping and reserving these birds, reason why the organization produced a chart.
Students were encouraged to be bird activists and to advocate for the conservation of the birds. In these light students were given the opportunity to identify and name these birds in their local or native language, with the Banded Wattle Eye known as “ntchorong”, the Bannerman’s Turaco known as the “kind bird”. This activity was a success and the students expressed happiness and declared their readiness to protect their natural heritage.
In addition, the project team equally organized a bird conservation workshop at the Ako Council hall. This workshop brought people from far and near. Notably the Secretary General of the Ako Council, chiefs, civil servants of other works of life, hunters and head of farming groups around the Ako community and the community at large. During this workshop, participants shared their views about this project and again the Mr Kari Jackson educated the participants on the need to protect and conserve their natural heritage and further encouraged them to grow broilers, set up sustainable gardens as alternative means of raising income. Also, he encouraged hunters to particularly grow table birds and rear cane rats as it brings more income. The workshop ended with all the participants amazed at what they have and also promised to keep and watch over the Mbembe forest. To show their delight for such a lofty idea, they all join the project them members in unique group photo in front of the Ako council building singing Bannermans-bannermans………………