WWF have worked in the Tri-National Dja-Odzala-Minkébé (TRIDOM) transborder forest since 1993. The forest spans three countries and is an important biodiversity hotspot for large mammals. However, the forest elephant is increasingly under threat from poaching with well-established criminal networks operating in the area. Part of WWF’s work in the TRIDOM forest focuses on community-based activities, aiming to reduce illegal hunting and support livelihoods.
The TRIDOM transborder forest covers 178,000 km², or 10% of the Congo Basin rainforest over three countries, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo and Gabon. Nearly 25% of the landscape is made up of eleven protected areas, containing some of the most pristine natural sites remaining in the area. TRIDOM is a stronghold for many threatened species, including forest elephants and great apes. Although TRIDOM has a low human population density it is home to the indigenous Baka population.
The poaching and wildlife trade problem
Species affected African Forest Elephant Loxodonta cyclotisProducts in trade
Ivory for international markets.
Overview of the problem
The TRIDOM forest is a poaching hotspot for forest elephants, with well-established criminal networks operating in the region. Local ivory prices have increased tenfold since 2005, providing incentives for local poachers. Efforts to reduce poaching are made more challenging due to a lack of law enforcement and government corruption. In addition, the landscape makes regular patrolling difficult and leaves huge areas open to hunters and traffickers who operate across borders.
The anti-IWT initiative
The TRIDOM forest is one of WWF’s priority areas in the Congo Basin, with field bases in all three countries. Since work began in the region in 1993, the project has included a number of community-based activities:
- Combatting wildlife crime including communication efforts and local community engagement
- Sustainable community development to ensure communities benefit from conservation and sustainable natural resource management, with the aim to reduce poaching and bushmeat hunting
Strengthening disincentives for illegal behaviour
Increasing incentives for wildlife stewardship
Has the initiative made a difference?
In Cameroon, WWF’s activities have resulted in the creation of nine community forests. In addition, a payment for ecosystems services micro-project has been implemented in four villages. Technical and financial support has also helped local communities to create cocoa farms and plant nurseries.
Organisers, donors and partners
Donors include: EU, USAID, USFWS, UNESCO/CAWHFI, GEF/UNDP, Save the Elephants, Adelle Foundation and FFEM.
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