A target output for the project is for “new livelihood paradigms to be established in 22 rural poor communities for the provision of sustainable non-wild meat protein sources for the short- to long-term”
The people living around the Dja Biosphere Reserve (DBR), east Cameroon, have a culture of hunting wild animals to obtain their household protein. In addition to hunting for subsistence, a demand for ‘bushmeat’ from urban dwellers has resulted in the take of effectively all species of wild animal being far higher than reproductive (‘replenishment’) rate. Previous work of the partners has identified that there are two key issues emerging:
there is a potential loss of food security to the rural poor who are dependent on wild-caught animals for protein as all animal numbers reduce annually
there is a potential loss of biodiversity locally that could contribute to global extinction of several species such as the great apes, other primates, larger ungulates and low-fecundity species unless alternatives to unsustainable, illegal hunting are established
The partners have worked with a significant number of the communities living in the periphery of the DBR since 2003 with efforts to support sustainable development. In April 2016, a process was identified for the initiation and development of community hunting zones (CHZ) as a means of supplying sustainable sources of animal protein; new CHZ were established in the intervention area. Significantly however, it is recognised by the community themselves that the level of take from the CHZ cannot meet local demand for animal protein, and not even taking into account the demand from urban dwellers. The village communities have indicated a keenness to explore two methods within a matrix to support moves away from unsustainable, illegal hunting: generation of cash through cocoa farming; provision of alternative animal protein sources through methods such as fish farming, livestock farming. In the Dja river there is the potential to create a sustainable fishery, based on ensuring fish stock security.