As the fight to protect wildlife in the Mbam Djerem National Park intensifies, other nongovernmental organizations are taking an interest.
Valery Binda is a conservation expert whose interest in wildlife conservation since the age of 9 pushed him to create Agriculture and Bio-conservation for Youth Empowerment and Rural Development Organization, ABOYERD.
According to Valery, ABOYERD has been able to carry out ecological surveys to understand the different species of wildlife in the Mbam Djarem National Park with emphasis on the Pangolins, the distribution of the species, their abundance and habitat yields, making him different from many failed conservation projects that were not based on site -specific research.
They have also been able to carry out socio-economic surveys to understand the threats faced by these species, the local use and consumption of these species, and have an understanding of the pro-biodiversity bio-chains found in the area that could be developed by his organization as a means to provide an alternative livelihood to people that depend on the forest for their living.
Besides the Pangolin project, ABOYERD has another project in the Southwestern part of Cameroon that is focused on the conservation of great apes; gorillas and chimpanzees, and forest elephants. This project is aimed at mitigating human-wildlife conflicts and illegal poaching that affects species.
Given that the people who live in these forest areas can not just switch their way of life just for the sake of conservation, the organisation through it’s environmental education and conservation awareness programs, educates the population resident in this forest region and raises their awareness of these species, their importance and the need for the species to be conserved.
After educative programs like these, ABOYERD teaches these people commercial beekeeping, sustainable collection, transportation, processing, and marketing of non-timber forest products like njansang and Guinean pepper, to name a few.
ABOYERD also runs a field conservation project where students who study conservation are given room to get hands-on experience. Valery notes that most students who are interested in conservation have little or no avenues to experiment all that they learn in the classroom thus he thinks a project like this will go a long way to solve this problem.
Besides an avenue to experiment, they provide both technical and financial support to these students and they have been able through this project to impact about six students, one from the universities of Bamenda and Dschang respectively.
Although some of the projects carried out by ABOYERD are sponsored externally by some local and international partners, Aboyerd has put in place some demonstration farms such as mushroom farms, organic gardening, and snail farming to be able to sponsor their activities internally.
ABOYERD currently provides employment to some 8 young Cameroonians and hopes that in the nearest future they will be a leading local conservation organization in Cameroon.
With projects as good and works as great as what ABOYERD is already doing, some assistance and good partnerships could aid ABOYERD be able to impact more students and people found in these forest zones