In order to protect and preserve the abundant wildlife habitat in the rainforests of Nigeria and Cameroon, plans are been set in motion to establish a transboundary world heritage site for the protection of endangered species including gorillas, chimpanzees, lions, and elephants native to both countries. And also arrangements have been concluded for a Memorandum of Understanding between Nigeria and Cameroon.
The project which aims to make sure that these endangered animal species are protected in order to stop their extinction was disclosed on Monday at a workshop on Watershed Protection for Safe Sustainable Water Supply in Calabar, Cross River, Nigeria. Sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the workshop aims to educate Nigerians on the need to protect their wildlife.
Senior personnel of Cross River Landscape for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Dr. Inaoyom Imong said that there are rare species indigenous to both countries are very few in numbers in the whole of Africa, thus the need to protect them through the establishment of the site, as he noted that experts from countries have already fine-tuned preparations towards the site.
Dr. Imong revealed that the heritage site would strengthen cooperation between the two countries, and it will enable them to achieve joint conservation goals. “The World Heritage Site will strengthen transboundary efforts between Nigeria and Cameroon. Transboundary cooperation will make conservation more effective and reduce costs”, he said.
He added that “when the MoU is signed by the two presidents, it will bring about many benefits, including joint patrols and regular transboundary workshops between them”.
Imong demanded better administration of the protected areas and more enforcement of the law to prevent ongoing intrusions into them and attacks on the species that exist there. He pushed for the development of a code of conduct for forest rangers as well as support for the prosecution of offenders.
He claimed that the workshop had assisted in keeping interested parties informed about the global implications that the trafficking in wildlife has taken on and strategies to address them. He added that in order to combat the pervasive poverty in the forest areas and deter locals from encroaching on protected areas in search of food, they are now offering livelihood assistance to the local people.