::: Africa Update :::
Anti-poaching patrol saves gorilla in Cameroon

Posted on July, 13 2005

Park rangers in Cameroon rescue a baby gorilla from the hands of poachers.
Find out more about WWF's work in the Mengame Gorilla Sanctuary.
On 20 June, five rangers out on a two-week anti-poaching patrol rescued a one-year old baby male gorilla from poachers in the Mengame Gorilla Sanctuary in Cameroon.

According the patrol leader Akono Zoula Dieudonné, the rangers surprised three poachers in their camp where they had smoked the mother gorilla and tied the baby up. In their effort to catch the baby gorilla, the poachers had wounded its left arm.   
Unfortunately, the sanctuary does not have any facilities or means to take care of orphan animals like this baby gorilla. As the primate waits for more appropriate arrangements to be made – such as being transferred to a zoo – he is being fed by staff at the sanctuary and attracting much attention from the local population, especially from kids who have never seen a live gorilla. 

Although recent studies have shown a relatively high density of great apes in the Mengame region (compared to other parts of Africa), poaching is a major cause of the species' decline in the region. To properly fight against poaching, it is estimated that some 15 rangers would need to go on patrol at least 20 days per month, and at a cost ofUS$1,300.
Present funding does not permit the Mengame project to do more than 14 days every three months. If some funds are not secured to ensure regular patrols, other young gorillas and their mothers will end up in the pots of poacher. 
Situated in the south province of Cameroon near the border of Gabon, the Mengame Gorilla Sanctuary was established by government of Cameroon, together with the logging company, SOFOPETRA, which initially ran the sanctuary. It was later taken over by Cameroon's Ministry of the Environment and Forestry (MINEF).

Shortly after, MINEF signed an agreement with the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in April 2002 to provide funding for a project to promote trans-boundary conservation of the lowland gorilla within two protected areas – Mengame in Cameroon and Minkenbe in Gabon.

The Environment Ministry also signed an agreement with the Jane Goodall Institute in September 2002 to carry out scientific studies that would provide information for the proper management of the sanctuary. 
In April 2004, the MINEF signed another agreement with WWF's Central Africa Regional Programme Office (CARPO) to provide technical assistance. Since the, WWF obtained seed money for the gazettement and legalization of the Gorilla Sanctuary. Negotiations with the local authorities have resulted in a proposed 95,800ha sanctuary. All legalisation documents have been compiled and forwarded to the Prime Minister's office and the decree to officially create the sanctuary is pending.

For further information:
Dr Hanson Njiforti, Technical Officer
WWF Central Africa Regional Programme Office
E-mail: hnjiforti@wwfcarpo.org
An orphaned gorilla, Gabon.
© WWF / Martin Harvey
Park rangers with captured poachers, Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, Central African Republic.
© WWF / Martin Harvey