Nov 3rd 2020
The Congo Basin evokes images of wild terrain inhabited by diverse species; like dense rainforest, meandering rivers, savannas, and endangered wildlife like forest elephants, chimpanzees, and bonobos. As the second largest rainforest after the Amazon, the Congo Basin is globally important. But the reality for the local communities who rely on the Congo Basin for their livelihood, a harsh reality exists and is often a case of survival.
The short documentary (available with English subtitles) provides an insight into the challenges of daily life for the people born and raised in the Congo Basin landscape of Cameroon. The Conservation Foundation’s collaborative work with the FCTV in Cameroon is committed to developing sustainable practices with these local communities. But we are confronted with a set of challenges including extensive logging and hunting bushmeat in the area.
Elias Djoh, who largely features in the documentary was our Community Development Officer for the FCTV and partner in Cameroon. Born and bred in a village in the Congo Basin, Elias has been a key member of our team to act as a bridge and enable conversations on sustainability with the local people. In particular, Elias worked tirelessly to support and engage locals with limited options but to practice illegal hunting and trading of wildlife and the clearing of forest to grow subsistence crops like cassava and plantain.
As part of the Conservation Foundation’s commitment to meet the UN SDG’s, Elias met and discussed potential alternatives with locals to identify solutions that would positively impact the people and the wildlife around them. However, we are saddened to share the news that Elias has since passed away earlier this year at the age of 65. A good age, considering the average life expectancy for men is about 60 years of age, but still a great loss to our work to put local people at the heart of conservation.
Neil Maddison, Head of Operations & Wildlife Conservationist at The Conservation Foundation