Support Conservation - Support Community
The ambition of the Cross River Gorilla Project is to work with partners like ERuDeF in order to introduce a number of initiatives to help support the conservation of the Cross River Gorilla and the
biodiversity of the Lebialem Highlands and support those who live in the local
communities with particular reference to education and women.
The ongoing humanitarian crisis has prevented community Rainforest Rangers from working but it is
now deemed safe to reinstate them. This is important not only as a significant step forward in
conservation but also in our efforts to support and provide alternative, sustainable livelihoods.
We are currently raising funds to support equipment costs for Rainforest Rangers.
The long term ambition is to work with ERuDeF in order to set up a research/hostel centre in the rain forest through UK fundraising and develop a women’s and children’s centre.
Read more about our community projects:
-COMMUNITY SURVEY, CAMEROON, FEBRUARY 2017-
In an effort to better understand the attitudes of the local villagers in regards to gorillas we conducted a survey amongst villages in the local communities surrounding our research centre site. Information was gathered by the CRGP team upon the last visit to Cameroon from local communities and questionnaires were written and data processed by student interns also known as CRIT 1.
-Cross River Information Team (CRIT) Questionnaire Summary-
CRIT 1 were a group of 6 second year biology students from Newcastle University working to write a literature review each for the Cross-River Gorilla Project.
The topics they covered were: setting up the research centre; ecotourism and how it is carried out in other areas; integrating with the community; research of the flora and fauna; specifically the history of the Cross-River Gorilla and the Bannerman’s Turaco and cultural beliefs associated with the gorillas.
We created a questionnaire which was completed by students in Besali, Cameroon containing questions regarding how the students use the forest around them, their thoughts and concerns about a research centre being built and their views of bush meat, hunters and the Cross-River Gorilla. Due to the crisis in Cameroon students had to meet in a house in the village of Besali which meant that only 19 questionnaires have been filled out and not all questions were answered. However, they do provide a range of views which will help the CRIT group to understand the hurdles that must be overcome to build a research centre, introduce ecotourism and be accepted by the community. A large proportion of the population are young people which makes these student’s opinions even more important.
When asked about the forest, gorillas, the Bannerman’s Turaco and hunters,
95% of the students recognised that the forest is important.
The students did not know a lot about the Bannerman’s Turaco, but they said that it tells them the time.
Almost half said that gorillas are good, and one of the most common written responses was that gorillas are like humans, one student even said that ‘a gorilla was like a brother to them’. Questions about hunters produced mixed views,
26% felt they were good, whilst a majority of 32% thought they were bad.
A large amount of the students, 89.5% admitted to having eaten
bush meat with only 10.5% of the group saying they had not which shows
their reliance on hunters for protein whatever their view is of hunting the gorillas.
In terms of how the centre can give back to the community, 64% of students wanted the centre to be close to the village, 95% would be happy for people to stay at the centre and most liked the idea of having access to the internet and a library. Every student said they would like to be involved with the centre and 79% said that they would want to study there.
This feedback was really positive and suggests that locals would welcome the centre if
the Cross-River Gorilla Project could provide opportunities for them as well as the environment.