Cameroon Crater Lakes
About the Area
The ancient nature and isolation has led to an extremely high level of endemism in these lakes where over 75 per cent of the fish species and approximately one-third of the aquatic insects are endemic.
These highland lakes dot a landscape covering an area of about 11,000 sq. km (4,200 sq. miles)
Western Africa: the highlands of Cameroon
These include four endemic genera - Konia, Myaka, Pungu, and Stomatepia. Lake Dissoni contains its own unique species of shrimp. The fish-eating colubrid snake, Afronatrix anoscopus, lives in Lake Bermin. The aquatic fauna of Lake Benakouma remains largely unexplored.
Mount Kupe, in Cameroon's southwest, covers an area of approximately 42km2 with an altitude that ranges from 600m to a high peak of 2064m. The forest is largely made up of evergreens and surrounded by 16 villages and towns with an estimated population of 140,000 inhabitants, predominantly of the Bakossi tribe.
The spirit of nationalism that gripped Cameroon between the 1950s and 1960s opened the once sacred Kupe forest to “sacrilege”. Slash and burn consumed large areas of the forest as people grabbed more hectares for farmland. Alongside the agriculturalists came the poachers and even loggers. The onslaught for the Kupe Forest was full scale.
The arrival of conservation organisations such as WWF evidently slowed down the pace of on-going destruction. Through sensitization campaigns, local communities came to understand that their livelihood s depended on the forest and its products. They are now conscious of the fact that the forest is all they have and that present and future generations stand to benefit provided there is better management.
Today, the traditional rulers and elders of the land are lining up behind WWF to weed out ruthless poachers and illegal loggers whose nefarious activities are seriously affecting rare tropical plant and animal species.