Sigalle Zitomersky's Web Page


My name is Sigalle Zitomersky. I am a senior Anthropology major and Sociology minor at Dickinson College. I am from Wellesley, Massachusetts. During the trip to Cameroon I chose to focus my research on local participation in Wildlife Conservation. I was able to interview a wide variety of informants ranging from British government conservationists to local hunters . As in many other areas the only way to apply conservation polocies is to involve the local people in the efforts. 
       It was a long before this trip that I decided to major in Anthropology, which takes on a holistic approach that appeals to me as the only way to study humans. In Cameroon, I found a way to combine both my passion for understanding cultures and my passion for saving wildlife. Anthropology is the needed component to link these two areas of study together. I hope to continue this path after graduation by entering the Nonprofit/Environmental field. 

-Sigalle Zitomersky


 

Wildlife Conservation in Cameroon: Change Through Local Participation

Cameroon lies on the West Coast of Africa, with a variety of climate that span across the country's terrain. From the lush tropical forest along the west coast to the drier grasslands to the north, the country has a great diversity of wildlife and plant life. The country is divided into ten provinves, eight French speaking or Francophone provinces and two English speaking or Anglophone provinces. Driving through the Southwest Province of Cameroon, in the Anglophone region, you can not help but notice the lush vegetation that surronds you, as cited by the CIA in 1993, 78% of the land is forest and woodland (CIA Website). Much of the land is covered by massive plantations that were once natural rainforests. Farming, hunting, growing population, logging and other industries, are all causing a rapid decline in the wildlife in the area. Cameroon is trying to control the decline of its forest and its wildlife through the means it has available. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to the conservation efforts. The government is very slow to show progress, money is hard to come by, and people are lacking education about conservation. The massive logging industry is opening up the forest and allowing hunters to have easier access to all parts of the forest. As a result in west and central Africa especially the, "great apes--gorillas, chimpanzees, and bonobos--are being hunted to extinction for commercial bushmeat in the equatorial forest" (Goldray, 1999). Hunting causes a great deal of damage to endangered species in the area. Many people are accustomed to eating bushmeat, "the name given to all edible species hunted in the forest" (The Economist, 1999). In the Limbe area bushmeat consists of a large variety of species including various monkeys, large rodnets, reptiles, chimpanzees, and elephants. Past efforts at policing produced no results. Due to, "the total ineffectiveness of coercive measures, attempts to reverse the supposedly negative activities of local forest users have focused on the concept of 'community participation' in conservation" (Sharpe 1998). To conserve the local wildlife in the Limbe area, the policy makers must facilitate a local participation program to build interest in conservation in the surronding communities.

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