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Dec 1, 2008

Dja periphery community engagement

The Dja periphery community engagement project from Bristol Zoo Gardens

Helping people and animals 

The Dja Biosphere Reserve (DBR) provides key habitat for the survival of endangered species in Cameroon. It is a fully protected area (IUCN, Class II), a World Heritage Site, and a UNESCO Man and Biosphere site. It has been recognized as an area of key significance in the conservation of central African rainforest biodiversity. In spite of its protected status, unsustainable bushmeat hunting occurs which includes the illegal hunting of great apes and there is depletion of forest resources and biodiversity loss in and around the DBR.

Feedback from local communities and indigenous groups led
to the development of the Dja Periphery Community Engagement Project (DP-CEP).

Specifically, the problems to be addressed under the auspices of the project are: Issues: - low capacity of local communities to contribute to sustainable forest management, including development of sustainable livelihoods, law enforcement and biodiversity loss; - conflict between law enforcement and local people, resulting in lack of engagement in protection of natural resources by locals; - little awareness of issues facing people and their role in wildlife conservation by government officials, NGOs, and others.

Through the project trust has been built, and dialogue established such that the ‘voice of the people’ is channelled to target audiences. Factors affecting local support for wildlife conservation have been identified and are being addressed.

Law enforcement authorities have accepted the need for, and undertaken training in, community engagement leading to improved law enforcement. Livelihood sources as alternatives to hunting and a sustainable alternative source of protein through cane-rat farming have also been provided.

Developed by:  Bristol Zoo Gardens

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