Since 2000, Cameroon's Mbam & Djerem National Park has served as a stronghold for the northernmost population of forest elephants in Africa (including those caught on the camera trap video below). Situated on the border between the closed canopy forests of the Congo Basin and the more open savanna to the north, the park is also home to a wide variety of other species, including bongo, buffalo, hippos, leopards, and chimps, plus 65 species of reptiles, more than 500 types of birds, and 30 species of fish. It faces many threats, including poaching, illegal logging, and the encroachment of extractive industry.
Combating the Problem
WCS has been responsible for the management of this important conservation site in cooperation with the Government of Cameroon since 2003. Our staff works hard to protect Mbam & Djerem and its wildlife.
As part of the park management program, we train, equip, and manage the law enforcement rangers for patrolling and anti-poaching operations to secure the park and its wildlife populations. As part of the management strategy, they collaborate closely with the tens of thousands of people that live around the park. Many of these communities depend on the resources in the Mbam & Djerem landscape for their livelihoods and so they are strong allies. We support them by promoting several income generating activities, including fishing, beekeeping, cattle breeding, and agriculture. We advise on best practices and offer technical and logistical assistance.
In the coming months, we plan to further intensify the battle against poachers and traffickers, through expanded aerial surveillance and ground and river patrolling missions. The plan also includes collaring a number of forest elephants in order to monitor their seasonal movements, distribution, and group structure and provide data to orient law enforcement activities for their protection. We'll also work to further develop the park infrastructure for effective and efficient management.