Every single living organism on Earth has a role to play for the ecosystem to be balanced, says Fominyam Njoh Christopher, Conservator for Kimbi-Fungom National Park, Cameroon.
A challenge for the new national park in the West African country (on the eastern border of Nigeria) is to find ways “through [a] participatory approach” to win the support and cooperation of the people who live in the villages around the park. “We try to win them on our side, get their confidence, ask them to collaborate with us, and make them understand the benefit of having that wildlife in there,” he explains in this video.
“When the park was created last year, my first job was to go out and educate the villages around. We targeted the groups of the community that really used the forest the most. And because of that they have educated others. And the poachers are now sensing there is no more collaboration between them [and the villagers]. So the number of poachers … is reducing.”
But a problem remains. If the local community is not to extract resources from the park, how will they make a living? “We should empower those local people, give them opportunities to have a better life without necessarily going into the forest,” Fominyam explains. “That is the key for us to achieve the dream of ecological balance.”
Fighting Wildlife Crime on the Front Lines
This video interview with Fominyam Njoh Christopher is part of a series of interviews with the unsung heroes fighting wildlife crime on the front lines. Journalist and National Geographic Fellow Bryan Christy uses investigative journalism to expose illegal wildlife trafficking around the globe. He introduces the interview series in the video below:
Wildlife law enforcement officers from around the world recently participated in a global seminar and training summit in Washington, D.C., focusing on collaboration, sharing intelligence and ideas. Read more about this below. Follow the link for a more comprehensive briefing.
Law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and business leaders gathered from across the world in Washington recently to share information and expertise and organize a concerted strategy to combat the global scourge of wildlife trafficking.
The unprecedented collaboration was heralded at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters on Tuesday, at an event held against the backdrop of recent news of a catastrophic plunge in the last wild populations of African elephants and other species. The meeting also set the stage for CITES CoP17, a conference in Johannesburg at the end of this month that will bring more than a hundred governments together to review the planet’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.
More About National Geographic’s Contributions to Fighting Wildlife Crime
National Geographic Society
- Saving Big Cats: Around the world, trophy hunting, habitat loss, and conflict with humans are putting big cats at great risk. See what we’re doing to help.
- A Voice for Elephants: Elephants may be large, heavy and thick-skinned, but they are being threatened with extinction in the wild by poaching for their ivory, and by human impact on their habitats. “A Voice for Elephants” is a resource for information about this critical species, a forum for discussion, and a rally point for those who want to stand with them.