Thanks to Conservation Force Board of Advisors member Wayne Lau, we are partnering in a new project in Cameroon. Its name stands for Cameroon Natural Resources (CAMNARES) which is a communal-based natural resource management program (CBNRM). CAMNARES is a new Cameroon wildlife conservation NGO. It was formed to use trophy hunting as a force for wildlife conservation and for rural development. Of course, the object of the rural development is to improve the quality of the lives of the rural residents through sustainable tourist hunting.
Already, the project has provided the people of the Kong Village access to clean water. Wayne Lau reports: “I first thought I was working with CAMNARES to do a chasse libre, or “free chase” hunt for bongo antelope. It turned out to be much bigger, including the rebuilding of water wells for people living in the hunting area. I was surprised that even the Prince of the village was studying wildlife conservation in South Africa and my hunting, at least initially, was part of a grand strategy.”
CAMNARES’ CEO Armand Biko’o explains: “In our chasse libre hunts, foreign trophy hunters work directly with trackers and porters recruited from villages in hunting areas rather than professional hunting guides. This provides local communities with a much needed source of direct income by way of salaries and trophy fees. Most importantly, it shows villagers that thriving wildlife is more valuable than bush meat, encouraging conservation.”
Lau was the third hunter CAMNARES arranged to hunt in the transition forests of Kong. Upon his arrival at Kong, he discovered that the Kong village water pumps were broken and over 2,000 inhabitants were without clean water and at risk of water-borne diseases. CAMNARES and Wayne, through Conservation Force, decided to jointly fund the building of three water wells with labor contributed by the villagers. Under CAMNARES’ management, the purchase of materials and well construction were completed within one month as promised.
CAMNARES was started as a non-profit, non-government organization (NGO) by Biko’o and Maliki Birosse Wardjomto, Cameroon’s first two Master Degree students studying Nature Conservation at Tshwane University in South Africa. Their studies were supported by scholarships from international conservation groups, particularly Shikar Safari Club International, which have also funded the first two years of the education of the Prince of Kong. With the help of CAMNARES and Wayne, Conservation Force is funding the Prince’s third year at Tshwane University in Pretoria. CAMNARES is to be another of Shikar Safari Club International and Conservation Force’s success stories.
In the 2008 season, chasse libre bongo hunts in Kong are being organized for CAMNARES by Eugene Yap from Southpoint Safaris, Safari Club International Outfitter of the Year in 2004. More projects may be coming. As CAMNARES Deputy CEO Wardjomto foresees, “We are planning pilot conservation community hunts with villages in Cameroon’s northern savannah areas, as well as in the southeastern forests.”
Conservation Force is acting as a fiduciary-funding partner to the project but has been asked to play an even greater role in the development of the conservation strategy. We are fortunate that Wayne has graciously agreed to fund part of the development and to be our man on the ground.
Another project that Conservation Force partners in is COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation) in Zambia. This is a project that first identifies, then transforms poachers to alternative livelihoods at the cost of less than $700 per poacher. It targets the worst poachers.
This conservation and development strategy was devised by Dale Lewis of Wildlife Conservation Service. It was initially funded by Conservation Force with the help of two of our donor partners, the International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife (Prince H.I.H. Abdorezza of Iran) and Kevin Malone. Today, it is a much broader-reaching project than those early days and is funded by an assortment of partners.
In 2007, Conservation Force again stepped into the picture for the purpose of expanding the project into the habitat of the ESA “threatened” listed red lechwe. We did that with funds from our Ranching for Restoration Program in Texas, which directs funds from participating ranches in Texas to enhancement projects for specific hunted exotics to on-the-ground projects around the world for those same select species. In 2007 the sum from Conservation Force was $10,000, which WCS was able to get others to match for a total of $20,000. In 2008, the sum from Conservation Force is again $10,000, which is being matched by hunting operators in Zambia and a tourist operator as well, for a total of $30,000.
It’s too early to analyze the population trend of red lechwe, but the results of the project in the existing areas are clear. Animal populations that had been declining are now documented to be increasing. Although all the populations were in decline before, no significant decrease can any longer be found. Many of the species are showing increases (see http://itswild. org/saving-wildlife-trends).
By any measure, this is the foremost red lechwe conservation project in the world. It was initiated and is funded primarily by hunting and hunters. Conservation Force’s other Ranching for Restoration projects target Eld’s deer and barasingha species. Those too are the foremost projects in the world for those ESA and CITES-listed species. We are expanding the number of participating ranches in the United States and expanding the projects in the countries of the respective species’ origins. It is truly a Conservation Force conservation invention that others have not yet managed to mimic.
Cullman & Hurt Project Model
The model flagship conservation project that we are most proud of was not our invention, but we’ve been trustees, officers and the fiduciary charitable foundation partner of it for eight years. That is the Cullman & Hurt Community Wildlife Project in Tanzania. It has built 48 schools, operated 12 medical dispensaries, two mobile medical units, and employed three full-time anti-poaching patrols fully equipped with vehicles, uniforms, etc.
Joseph Cullman is deceased and made no provision in his testament or otherwise for the continuance of the Cullman & Hurt Wildlife Project. Consequently, the board has changed the name and reach of the entity to the Robin Hurt Wildlife Foundation, which has extended its reach to Namibia, Botswana and even Europe. The newly renamed Foundation is doing well, thanks to the generous support of Robin Hurt’s hunting clients.
We cite it as the model it was intended to be. Much like missionaries for conservation, we are forever forging hunter-funded projects across Africa that exemplify its attributes. Read below about three such projects in Botswana, Mozambique and Tanzania that are making Africa a better place for tomorrow.
The Rann-Force Botswana Lion Project is the first. It has been funding over $20,000 per year in lion conservation projects across all of Africa thanks to charitable contributions from the generous clients of Jeff Rann. With up to three members serving on the African Lion Working Group (ALWG), Conservation Force has been in a position to strategically place those funds where they do the most good when they are most needed. Now that there is no Botswana lion quota, the lion client source of the funding has dried up. Consequently, the program is being renamed the Rann-Force Wildlife Project for a broader, less lion-oriented purpose. We will continue to be the conservation arm of this responsible and highly-respected hunting operator. (Don’t be concerned: Conservation Force still has three lion projects in Botswana alone in 2008.)
Kambako-Force Mozambique is Conservation Force’s program with Kambako Safaris in the Niassa Reserve Block B Concession and adjacent Coutada. This is one of the most pristine habitats in the world and part of a grand conservation experiment. The Kambako-Force program already entails elephant, lion and leopard projects and a strong community component. For more on the projects under this program, see http://www.kam bakosafaris.com.
The Miombo-Force Tanzania Program is with PH Michel Mantheakis of Miombo Safaris, Ltd. in Tanzania. Michel has been named Professional Hunter of the Year by SCI and Houston Safari Club. He is educated as a biologist as well. He too already has successful conservation, community development and anti-poaching projects. Conservation Force is to be the fiduciary facilitator with this promising partner. For more on Michel’s projects, see http://miombosafaris.com /conservation/projects.html.