Dr. Teri Allendorf traveled back to Lumbini, Nepal and is heading to Cameroon next. In both places, she’s exploring the potential for involving new communities in conservation.
Teri is exploring a new potential partnership at the Lumbini Crane Sanctuary in Nepal between Community Conservation Inc., WWF Nepal, the Lumbini Development Trust, and the International Crane Foundation, one of Wisconsin’s most impactful conservation organizations.
Teri is meeting with these partners and with local community members to help determine the best way to involve local communities more in the sanctuary and develop an education center.
The 256-acre Lumbini Crane Sanctuary is great habitat for Sarus cranes (with over 200 nesting pairs in the Lumbini area), and is home to many other species such as blue bull (nilgai) and over 200 bird species. The cranes nest in the Sanctuary’s wetlands, but they also nest in nearby agricultural fields. A few small agricultural changes, such as growing more sustainable rice varieties, could improve the nesting habitat for cranes. Lumbini is also the birthplace of Buddha, so it receives many visitors each year.
The Lumbini Crane Sanctuary could become a local and international hub for community conservation. Teri will be talking to community members and helping WWF Nepal and ICF determine the best way to get there.
Dr. Rob Horwich, founder of Community Conservation Inc., worked in Cameroon on a Cross River gorilla conservation project back in 2016. He and our in-country partners met with villagers to begin the process of mapping, designing, and implementing a Community Forestry Area to protect habitat for the gorillas. The initial meetings with the villagers produced a lot of excitement and the community members were exploring the steps to establish their own reserve. But due to political instability in that part of Cameroon, the project had to be put on hold.
But now, in a different part of Cameroon, there’s a new opportunity to work with our partner Dr. Denis Ndeloh and his newly-formed organization, Community-Based Biosynergy Management. We will be working together to involve communities in conservation near the Dja Faunal Reserve.
The Dja Faunal Reserve, a large, protected rainforest, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with prime habitat for many large mammals including elephants, chimpanzees, leopards, mandrills and lowland gorillas. It’s also home to the Baka pygmies, an indigenous group of hunter-gatherers who have maintained the balance of the tropical forest ecosystems for thousands of years.
Working with community forestry groups, the project will conserve the habitat and biodiversity of Dja Faunal Reserve and the surrounding forest.
Teri will be traveling to Cameroon in April to help with the project’s first steps.