In order for local communities to participate more effectively in the conservation of a protected area, it is essential that they master the boundaries of this space. With this in mind, the populations of 3 villages in the northern zone of the Deng Deng National Park (PNDD) took part in the refreshing of the boundaries of this protected area located in the East region of Cameroon.
One afternoon was enough to train Abou, Iya, Olivier and Abba on their role in the operation to refresh the PNDD boundaries in their village. “Abou is the tracker, you’re the one who opens the way, Olivier and Abba clear one meter on your right and one meter on your left, and Iya, you put the red paint back on the trees when there are any,” says Ndiffo, head of the northern branch of the PNDD. The trainer goes on to point out that several trees may have been felled as a result: “We’ll have to plant stakes in places where there are no trees left, and put the red paint on them. Later on, we’ll come back and plant trees in those places”. At the end of the training course, the 4 young people from the Tête d’éléphant village in the Bétaré-Oya commune received equipment to be used for refreshing the boundaries of the protected area.
At dawn on July 27, 2023, the group set off in the company of a SAILD team. After a 2-hour walk through the forest, the group of half a dozen came to a halt. Abou, who had gone ahead of them, asked them to wait for him. Less than 2 minutes later, he writes to himself a little further on, “I found the red paint on a tree”. The little group set off again through the trees. This ritual will mark the progress of the work, which will continue until around 5 p.m. By the end of the first day, 3 km of park boundary had been refreshed.
The refreshment of the PNDD boundaries, which began in Tête d’éléphant, continued in the villages of Lom 1 and Liguim. At the end of this participatory operation, 33 km of PNDD boundaries were refreshed by the communities of the 3 villages under the supervision of the park’s conservation department. This activity is part of the project “Optimizing the conservation of Deng Deng National Park by strengthening the capacities of local riverside communities in agroecological practices” implemented by SAILD. This project is subsidized by the IUCN BIOPAMA program, an initiative of the ACP group of countries funded by the European Union’s 11th EDF.