From Nov. 2014 to Nov. 2015 we monitored wildlife and gun hunting activity within the Rumpi Hills Forest Reserve (southwest region of Cameroon). The project was funded by the USFWS (E14AP00503) and coordinated by Joshua Linder (James Madison University), with co-PIs Christos Astaras (University of Oxford), and Peter Wrege (Cornell University). The goal of the project was to demonstrate how the passive acoustic monitoring protocol (PAM) developed in Korup National Park (just a few kilometers away) could be “exported” in new sites, providing insight on wildlife status and human activities within protected areas which are currently totally unmonitored, so as to help develop the momentum needed to make these “paper parks” actually managed/monitored.
You can read our final report to USFWS below. Importantly, we managed to detect the species-characteristic male Preuss’s guenon “boom” call in several sensors, confirming the persistence of the endangered primate within RHFR. We are currently developing an automated detection algorithm for the species that will facilitate rapid acoustic surveys in other forest fragments within the historical range of the species in Cameroon and Nigeria. Our acoustic data also showed that RHFR is under significant gun hunting pressure, and that – especially if the Wildlife Sanctuary status considered for the site is to be pursued as discussed for years now – some level of patrolling and monitoring needs to be introduced at the site.
We will be developing a series of management and monitoring recommendations – as per the project plan – to share with our colleagues in Cameroon and specifically the regional delegation of the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife (MINFOF).