A New Great Apes Conservation Landscape created in South West Cameroon
The management of fragmented great apes sub populations as well as other globally protected species as a single management unit is one of the key management policy of the Republic of Cameroon. Such management units that span hundreds of thousands of hectares is considered as indispensable to the successful consolidation of fragmented habitats and subpopulations in highly human dominated landscapes. Such landscapes that englobe one or more protected areas are known as Technical Operational Units (TOU).
From 2016 through to 2023, ERuDeF and other conservation partners in the South West Cameroon notably the Ministries in charge of Wildlife and Environment with support from UN Environment launched the process for the gazettement of the last TOU in the SW Cameroon called the Bakossi-Banyang-Mbo-Nweh- Mundani (BBMNM) Technical Operational Unit covering over 530000 ha. In February 2023, the Prime Minister of Cameroon finally signed into law this new technical operational unit .
The new technical operational unit comprises of the Bakossi National Park, Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary, Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Mt Muanenguba Herpetological Sanctuary, proposed Mt Kupe Integral Ecological Reserve and proposed Njoagwi-Fotabong III Essoh Attah Wildlife Sanctuary as well as several corridors. These protected areas and corridors collectively have over 2000 Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, 60 Cross River Gorillas and a surface area of 530000 ha.
The signing of this new Decision by the Prime Minister of Cameroon provides a unified and harmonized coordination framework to support the long term sustainable management of great apes populations through the mullti-stakeholders approach.