Endangered chimpanzees, other primates and forest elephants could lose stretches of their habitat in Cameroon if a U.S. company’s plan to establish a palm oil plantation goes ahead. Based in New York City, Herakles Farms, known as SG Sustainable Oils in Cameroon, has claimed that its palm oil project in Cameroon’s Southwest Region would convert an area of little conservation value.
But a new study by Dschang University in Cameroon, conducted in collaboration with Germany’s University of Göttingen and supported by Greenpeace International, SAVE Wildlife Conservation Fund of Germany and WWF Germany, indicates that this claim misrepresents the project area.
The Herakles Farms plantation concession is bordered by four protected areas, including Korup National Park, and acts as an important corridor for wild animals.
The forested area is located on Cameroon’s western border with Nigeria, within the Guinean forests of West Africa, an area known as a biodiversity hotspot.
The study found the concession area to be inhabited not only chimpanzees, but also forest elephants, rare primates such as the Endangered drill and the Critically Endangered Preuss’s red colobus monkey, plus a number of fish species, many native to the region and found nowhere else on Earth.
Dr. Matthias Waltert in the Department of Conservation Biology at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen writes in a preliminary report of his team’s research in the area, “These results show clearly that the planned concession area is of high conservation value. They also show that previous surveys were insufficient to establish adequate information on large mammal presence.” More....