U.S., Cameroon College Promote Wildlife Conservation

Cameroon Gorilla
A western lowland gorilla peers through an electrified wire fence at Mefou National Park in Cameroon. The primate sanctuary introduces rescued animals back into the wild.

Washington
March 16, 2012

The United States and a college in Cameroon have launched a new program to help conserve African wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program has entered into an agreement with Cameroon’s Garoua Wildlife College (l’Ecole de Faune de Garoua [EFG]) that will enhance wildlife conservation in Central and West Africa, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced March 15.

“This program works at the species, regional and global levels to leverage conservation actions designed to help restore at-risk species, enhance local people’s capacity to conserve wildlife and collaborate with partners to identify critical conservation issues of mutual concern,” said USFWS Director Dan Ashe.

The new multiyear program, finalized in September 2011, will provide three scholarships a year to wildlife conservation workers from key protected areas where USFWS works with partners on conservation. The program also establishes a faculty development program for EFG’s staff to increase competency in teaching wildlife management and forest conservation.

“Helping the Garoua Wildlife College improve its capacity to provide conservation training in West and Central Africa will benefit wildlife conservation throughout the Francophone African countries,” said the USFWS’s chief of international conservation, Herb Raffaele.

Since 1989, the Wildlife Without Borders program has awarded more than 2,500 grants for international wildlife conservation, targeting key species and regions to ensure the protection of some of the world’s most endangered and charismatic animals.

The three 2011 USFWS Garoua Scholarship Program recipients are Koi Koivogui of Ziama Reserve in Guinea, Landry Kmabale Vingwangwa, and Martin Kazerezi Barigomwa of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They were selected in part for their personal commitment to conservation and the expected impact of their training on the protected areas where they work.

Learning of his scholarship, Martin Kazerezi Barigomwa said, “Upon completing my studies at Garoua, I will train my fellow park rangers on what I have learned so that they are better able to carry out their duties and respond to the needs of tourists visiting the park.”

Koi Koivogui said, “As part of my training, I’m hoping to improve my knowledge base, acquire new tools for understanding the management of wildlife resources and be sufficiently equipped to contribute to the sustainable management of biological resources in Guinea for present and future generations.”

EFG was created in Cameroon in 1970 to provide in-service wildlife training for Francophone government agencies in sub-Saharan Africa. It has trained more than 1,300 students from 24 countries.

More information about the grants provided through Wildlife Without Borders’ Africa Regional Capacity Building Program is available on the USFWS website.