Welcome to our New Partner: Zoological Society of London (ZSL)

 

The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Officially Joins the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP)

London (UK), April 28th, 2014 – The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has officially joined the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP) and agrees to advance cooperation with CBFP membersto support the sustainable management of forest ecosystems and conservation of biodiversity in Central Africa.

ZSL is a charity founded in 1826, and world-renowned center of excellence for conservation science and applied conservation. ZSL’s mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats, which it does by carrying out field conservation and research in over 50 countries across the globe and through education and awareness at two British zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, inspiring people to take conservation action.  ZSL’s 2026 targets are to have:

 

♦ Defined and monitored the status of the world’s protected areas and at least 20,000 species.

♦  Improved the status of at least 100 of the world’s most threatened and distinct species.

♦  Protected and restored at least 1 million km2 of coastal and marine habitat and ½ million km2 of terrestrial habitat.

♦  Ensured best practices for natural resource use in at least 1 million km2 of priority production landscape.

♦  Through our zoos, research and public engagement, enabled over 70 million people to adopt positive steps to support conservation and value nature.

 

ZSL’s programs in the Cameroon

 

ZSL has been working in Cameroon since 2007. The programme to date has focused on working with the private sector (forestry and oil palm), communities and local authorities to introduce best practices management methods and reduce impacts on wildlife and biodiversity, and to support protected area management.  Most of our focus is centred on the landscape in and around the Dja Biosphere Reserve a UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated within the CBFP TRIDOM Landscape. We have also expanded work to the freshwater and coastal systems in the Doula-Edea Landscape.

 

Dja Conservation Complex

 

ZSL’s Wildlife Wood Project (WWP) helps logging companies adopt low-impact logging practices and apply innovative, practical and cost-effective measures for managing wildlife in their concessions, helping to provide a sustainable future for both wildlife and people.

 

Central African forest elephants are threatened with extinction and listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List. ZSL has been actively conserving the wildlife and habitats of this region since 2007 and has recently begun to focus our efforts to securing a future for these threatened forest giants. ZSL works to identify elephant populations and to enhance law enforcement, protecting vital areas of habitat and improving conservation infrastructure in range states where forest elephants still exist.

 

Activities include: surveys to identify remaining elephant populations; strengthening national law-enforcement efforts through targeted intelligence gathering and support for the legal process; improving national park protection by equipping and training eco-guards in wildlife protection and ecological monitoring and implementing the Spatial Monitoring and Report Tool (SMART); helping timber companies implement wildlife protection plans within their timber concessions; assisting companies in identifying, managing and monitoring areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) with a particular focus on priority flagship species; the great apes and forest elephant;  and empowering local communities to help fight wildlife crime in their forests through community surveillance networks.

 

In 2013, ZSL  expanded activities to include working within the Dja Biosphere Reserve, along with its buffer zones. Throughout 2014, the following activities will be implemented:

 

♦  Conserve great apes and forest elephants, through strengthening the Conservation Service’s capacity in ecological monitoring and law enforcement;

♦  Train and equip ecoguards for improved law enforcement and monitoring (SMART);

♦  Establish an effective intelligent led enforcement system (informant network);

♦  Establish an effective community surveillance network;

♦  Establish wildlife protection systems in other forest concessions in the Dja periphery.

 

Lake Ossa Reserve

 

The Lake Ossa Reserve is an important refuge for West African manatees and other freshwater biodiversity, yet it is under severe pressure from unsustainable fishing practices, poaching, sand extraction, and clearing of natural vegetation. ZSL are working with the government’s conservation service, local communities and partners to ensure the sustainable management of the reserve. 

 

ZSL in partnership with the Conservation Service and local NGOs has initiated a programme to address the threats to the Lake Ossa Wildlife Reserve, engage stakeholders and ensure the reserve is sustainably managed for future generations. The project has four primary elements:

 

♦  Developing and implementing a Lake Ossa Reserve management plan that delineates the reserve boundary, incorporates community zoning for fishing and eliminates destructive fishing practices.

♦  Strengthening the capacity of the Conservation Service to manage and protect the reserve and its wildlife.

♦  Engaging local communities in sustainable livelihood initiatives.

♦  Engaging the private sector to reduce their negative impacts on the Lake Ossa complex.

 

Palm Oil Sector

 

The emerging palm oil industry in Africa offers an invaluable opportunity for economic and social development, but can also prove to be potentially ecologically and socially devastating. ZSL is working in Cameroon to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable palm oil production in Africa, and to ensure that the expansion of the industry does not result in the destruction of primary and high conservation value forests and their wildlife, and to secure local indigenous people’s livelihoods.

 

To ensure that the benefits of the expanding oil palm industry are maximised and the potential negative impacts minimised, careful planning and development of the sector will be needed. The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has developed a global standard for sustainable palm oil production including requirements to protect areas of High Conservation Value (HCV) and to implement environmental and social safeguards, within the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria (P&C). The HCV framework, if properly applied, represents a valuable tool in maintaining key social and environmental values and protecting threatened species and ecosystems. Unfortunately there are currently several  barriers to achieving the goal of sustainable oil palm production in Cameroon including: a very low level of understanding regarding the concept of sustainability in oil palm production, the HCV framework and the RSPO guidelines amongst government officials, civil society and local private sector actors in West and Central Africa; limited capacity to implement sustainable practices across the sector; uneven application of the RSPO Principles and Criteria and HCV concept adaptation to the national level and; existing government land-use planning processes that are inadequate to guide sustainable development of the oil palm industry.

 

ZSL is working to demonstrate that the development of the oil palm industry in Cameroon can be accomplished in a sustainable manner, avoiding negative environmental impacts. The project provides information and training to increase the level of understanding among all the key stakeholder groups in Cameroon, and will facilitate the development of national RSPO P&C and HCV applications, HCV toolkits and mapping resources, to strengthen land-use decision-making processes and ensure that local capacity needs are addressed to enable the continued uptake of sustainable best practices.

 

Innovative technologies to improve conservation management

 

ZSL, as a member of the SMART consortium is implementing the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART) for the Dja Biosphere Reserve and concessions within its peripheries.  ZSL is also developing and implementing innovative technologies (camera traps, vehicle tracking devises, and sound detectors) for monitoring illegal activities in concessions in the periphery of the Dja Biosphere Reserve.

Other ZSL activities in the region include: implementing the Wildlife Wood Project in Ghana from 2005-2010; restoring the Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Faunal Reserve in Chad, and partnering in a REDD project around Mount Huyu Reserve, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Welcome to our New Partner: Zoological Society of London (ZSL)!

 

For more Information, please contact Vince Smith, ZSL Country Manager, Cameroon  (vince.smith@zsl.org) and consult the Official website of the The “Zoological Society of London (ZSL)”!: http://www.zsl.org/ 

 

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