The illegal exploitation and trade in the world’s biodiversity, particularly wildlife, has massively evolved from local and national levels to attain alarming global proportions. Today, it is the fourth largest source of illegal trade, after drugs, counterfeit goods and human trafficking, with corruption constituting a major driver. Basically, illegal wildlife trade goes with severe socio-economic, security and governance impacts. The practice strains a nation’s drive to realize key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially those relating to preservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. It also leads to severe loss of biodiversity (flagship species) which impacts vital ecosystem services that many of the most marginalized communities in the world are reliant, hence depriving local communities of this important livelihood resource.
In Cameroon, and the South West Region in particular, poverty together with a huge and profitable external market, greatly contributes to wildlife poaching. The effects of this to ecosystems and ecotourism trade and more, to the national economy, cannot be over stated.
FORUDEF in a bid to deter poaching, in consultation with local communities around protected areas, has produced a draft community-based hunters’ engagement strategy for Protected Areas in the South West Region. As a process to update and validate the Community-Based Hunters Engagement Strategy (CHES), FORUDEF organized a two days workshop in Limbe with the participation of the conservators of the Bakossi National Park, Banyang-Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, Korup National Park, Mount Cameroon National Park, Limbe Wildlife Sanctuary, landscape advisor of WWF-CCPO, Coordinator of Community Action for Development (CAD), the President of the NW Cluster, NW cluster facilitator and an ex-poacher of Bakossi National Park area.
At the end of this workshop, the Community-Bases Hunters Engagement Strategy (CHES) was validated. Among others, the following recommendations were highlighted:
- To empower VFMCs to carryout law enforcement (Advocacy Activity)
- A task team be put in place to improve on the content of the CHES based on the workshop recommendations.