As an SOS grantee, the Leo Foundation is aiding anti-poaching efforts in Bouba-Ndjida National Park in Cameroon. This park near Cameroon's northern border with Chad supports wildlife such as the African elephant, the famed giant eland, as well as endangered West African lions.
Between January and March 2012, poachers killed circa 450 elephants in the park, the largest single slaughter of elephants on record in Africa in the past two years. This is especially worrisome given that, as of 2007, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated only 1,000 to 5,000 elephants are still left in Cameroon. Since the incident, which drew worldwide media attention, 60 new ecoguards were deployed to secure Bouba-Ndjidda.
However, these guards currently have no salary, petrol for cars, nourishment, means of medical treatment, GPS equipment, or housing facilities, thus lacking the all means to successfully combat illegal poaching.
Consequently, a repetition of the massacre witnessed earlier this year is a real possibility.
The project activities consist of supplying the ecoguards with means to effectively conduct their anti-poaching activities.
First, the project team will construct housing and invest in sleeping facilities and electricity in the park's headquarters to house anti-poaching units. Second, food, daily fees, and medicines will be supplied to guards, and third, maintenance work of the road network to facilitate patrols will be conducted.
Lastly, ecoguards will be trained in the use of GPS tracking devices needed for effective terrain coverage in monitoring illegal activities. As a result, the effectiveness for anti-poaching effort in the short and long term will increase dramatically.
The expected outcome will be a fully operational and motivated anti-poaching patrol unit located at the park's headquarters.
By boosting the anti-poaching effort and investing in permanent facilities in Bouba-Ndjida, guards will be able to effectively patrol the park, gather intelligence, and be well motivated to stand up against the threat of illegal poachers, now and in the future.
This will contribute greatly to the protection of elephants, lions and other endangered wildlife in the park, reducing poaching pressure by locals and organized poaching gangs from outside Cameroon, thus preventing the major massacre of elephants as witnessed last year.
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