Large Carnivore Seminar in Cameroon
Large carnivore populations in West and Central Africa have declined significantly in recent decades. Human settlements and their agriculture and livestock systems are increasingly expanding into natural savannas, causing a strong increase in human-carnivore conflicts. To protect their livestock, farmers tend to kill the carnivores in the surrounding area using poisoned-baiting, affecting the entire carnivore guild. A simultaneous decrease in prey numbers and the destruction of the predators’ natural habitat have resulted in a significant reduction and fragmentationof large carnivore populations. Since these wildlife populations live in vast areas spread over many countries, they can only be protected successfully if conservationists throughout the continent work together closely.
About the applicant
The LEO Foundation, established in the Netherlands in 2008, aims to protect lion and other large carnivore populations in India and on the African continent. The foundation works closely together with the Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) of Leiden University to provide conservationists in India and Africa with the best possible information and knowledge and to link them. Moreover, the foundation works to draw the attention of policymakers in the region to the importance of large carnivore conservation.
About the application (2010)
The Leo Foundation wanted to plan a Large Carnivore Seminar in Cameroon in November 2010. Though similar seminars had been held before, the intended seminar would be the largest yet. During the event, conservationists from the whole continent would be given the opportunity to strengthen the Large Carnivore Network in the region. Many of the invited members were already (and still are) doing pilot projects on lion-livestock conflict mitigation, implemented by the Centre d’Etude de l’Environnement et du Développement (CEDC) from Cameroon and the Leo Foundation.
At the seminar, these local NGOs would present their pilot projects as case studies and learn from one another. It was expected that the network would expand with new members in unrepresented countries, and that the results of the extensive research conducted by the Leo Foundation in Cameroon between 2006 and 2008 (and partly financed by the Prince Bernhard Fund for Nature), would be presented and communicated to policy makers and a larger audience. The Prince Bernhard Nature Fund finds this project very important, because it is crucial to connect policymakers, conservationists, communities and scientists in Africa and look at the protection of large carnivores from a pan-African perspective. Solutions to the problem of endangered large carnivores can only work if they are adopted and implemented on a very large scale, crossing international borders. For more information about the LEO Foundation, please visit http://leofoundation.org/index.html.
Photo: Lion Guards in Cameroon - Large Carnivore Initiative