Scriptwriters aid effort to curb bushmeat tradeYaounde, Cameroon: The WWF Cameroon Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of the environment and Forestry (MINEF) last January launched a "Video Play Competition on the Bushmeat Trade in Cameroon".
The competition required contestants to develop a video script that dramatizes pertinent issues in the poaching and commercialization of bushmeat. Over 45 quality scripts were received from nine of the 10 administrative provinces of Cameroon from which 34 were selected for consideration by a group of five independent adjudicators, one staff each from the Policy Programme of WWF and the Ministry and two consultants.
The competition was organized as part of the on-going anti-poaching campaign spearheaded by MINEF. This anti-poaching campaign is an activity under the National Emergency Action Plan (Plan d'Action d'Urgence) for the implementation of the Yaounde Summit Declaration on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Resources of the Forests of the Congo Basin.
The first prize was won by a play entitled in pidgin, "Take Time, Bushmeat Go Finish" (Be Careful, Wildlife Will Soon Be Extinct). The plays for the second and third prizes were, "Hunters are Hunted" and "What Future for Them?".
A video production which will bring together highlights from these three plays is expected in the course of the year.
Bushmeat has long been a part of the diet of forest dwellers in Central Africa but, in recent years, hunting for bushmeat has become heavily commercialized.
High prices for bushmeat, ivory and animal skins fuel the illegal trade in endangered species.
Road building by logging companies penetrate deep into the heart of previously untouched forest and gives easy access to commercial hunters and to buyers of bushmeat.
Logging trucks take commercial hunters and poachers into remote forest areas where they set huge snares along kilometres of tracks. The logging trucks then carry back the carcasses of forest animals, often concealed under the trucks' canvas, to the cities (such as Yaounde) to supply the high demand for bushmeat.
WWF is encouraging government authorities in West Central Africa to take measures to ensure that local people, hunters, traders and loggers obey national and local wildlife protection laws.
In addition, WWF is calling on governments to ensure that logging company staff do not participate in hunting, killing or trading in endangered species.
For more information, contact: John Nchami, Communications Officer WWF Cameroon Programme Office. Tel: +237 21 70 83. Fax: +237 21 70 85. E-mail: Jnchami@wwf.cm