LOCATION: somié, Cameroon
TARGET SPECIES: CHimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
partners: Community-Based Biosynergy Management (CBBM)
STATUS: in progress

In recent years, a local community in Somié, Western Cameroon has reported hearing chimpanzee calls further away and less frequently than normal. A lack of chimpanzee calls plus illegal grazing in the forest motivated the community into action. This project site was selected by His Royal Highness Gamgbe Kounaka Ernest as a forest to be protected specifically for conservation. Villagers are worried about the future of chimps in their area, and they are asking for help to establish a 5,000 hectare community-managed forest. 

Below are photos from the field taken while surveying for chimps in 2022. While hiking through the area, Executive Director Teri Allendorf and partners came across an exciting find—nearly twenty chimp nests in one small area! 

During a camera trap survey in 2023, our partners found four small groups of chimpanzees in the area along with 13 other distinct wildlife species inhabiting the landscape, a discovery that highlights the biodiversity of the area and underscores its conservation importance. These species included the critically endangered giant pangolin (Manis gigantea), tantalus monkey (Chlorocebus tantalus), putty-nosed monkey (Cercopithecus nictitans), baboon (Papio anubis), bay duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), blue duiker (Cephalophus monticla), civet (Viverra civeta), monitor lizard (Varanus salvator), warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), porcupine (Hystrix cristata), bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus), sitatunga (Tragelaphus spekii), pintade (Numida meleagris). The area also contains a rich and diverse avifuana.

The chimp nests were found in clusters, suggesting repeated use of the same area for nesting. The clusters indicate the chimps are responding to persistent human disturbance.

This is one of two projects with our partner Community-Based Biosynergy Management (CBBM) on the ground in Cameroon. The other is the Dja Reserve, a community-managed forest and wildlife sanctuary in southeast Cameroon.