Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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By Lionel Tchoungui Bidzogo*

The Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, MINFOF, has called on partners involved in the construction of the Lom Panga hydro-electric dam to commit to the fight against poaching and illegal wood exploitation in the Deng Deng Forest in the East Region.

MINFOF boss, Prof. Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, was speaking at a two-day round table conference which held at the Yaounde Mont Febé Hotel, September 8, under the theme: “Fight against Poaching and Illegal Logging Activities in the Deng Deng Technical Operational Unit”.

He told representatives of the Electricity Development Corporation, EDC, Cameroon Railway Company, CAMRAIL, to propose innovative reforms to buttress the fight against poaching and illegal lumbering. According to Ngolle Ngolle, the [Deng Deng] ecosystem is rich in wildlife such as gorillas and chimps, but threatened by human activities.

“This collaboration will also help in concrete decision-making that will lead to the establishment of a platform, a prelude for a memorandum of understanding to be signed in the near future between the parties concerned,” he said. The Minister said MINFOF and EDC have done a lot together to protect wildlife (primarily gorillas), forest and forest resources. He said there are other issues which concern them such as making sure that the soils are not degraded and taking care of the local population.

Other issues discussed at the conference included MINFOF’s efforts to conserve the Deng Deng Forest, social and environmental assessment of the Lom-Pangar dam project with regards to the protection of the forestry and wildlife ecosystem in Belabo Sub-Division by EDC.

Other actions being undertaken include a CAMRAIL/MINFOF/COTCO project to fight illegal logging and poaching in Deng Deng. According to a factsheet provided by MINFOF and EDC, forests are very significant in the economy of tropical countries as they provide fruits, grains, meat, building materials, medications, timber, etc, which are exported.

The Deng Deng Forest has been subject of an environmental impact study whose aim was to ensure that the ecosystem would be safe to a greater extent in the course of the implementation of the Lom-Pangar dam project. It was, however, noted that illegal logging and poaching remain a threat in the area. The meeting was attended by, amongst others, the General Managers of Camrail, EDC, COTCO and the Resident Representative of the World Bank in Cameroon.

*(UB Journalism Student on Internship)