Dr. Anthony Rose, President of the Biosynergy Institute and Director of
Conservation for the Gorilla Foundation, has been in Cameroon since mid-November assessing two projects and supporting the production of a documentary film. We will bring you regular reports.|
December 13th ReportLETTER 4 FROM YAOUNDE, CAMEROON --
Dr. Anthony Rose
Greetings Friends and Colleagues,
We have returned to Cameroon's national capital after two productive and moving weeks in the Eastern Provence. The people of Lomie welcomed us warmly. They and the villagers of Karagoa and Congolou were deeply pleased to have us in their midst.
Day by day, I experienced the vital support of the Dutch Development Organizion (SNV) and CIAD, the NGOs in charge of managing the gorilla protection & habituation effort. Without their highly professional involvement in administrative, social, and technical matters, there would be no community forest and no protected gorillas in this region of the world. The work of Mark Vanderwall, Project Coordinator, is truly amazing. His ability to work effectively at all levels, from the development of legal and political regulations and commitment to the management of community affairs and project team work processes has been absolutely essential to the success of the program.
It is extremely satisfying to find that the gorilla habituation program is well underway. I was able to trek with ease on foot across well worn trails, through mud and bush, and spend three fantastic days with the trackers in their camp. Paddling up the Dja River was like a dream - serene yet with the undercurrent of living diversity lurking in shadows. Again I have been immersed in the biosynergy of life which inspires our commitment to this work. One night we heard the call of a lone male silverback gorilla, and the next morning found his track crossing a trail very near the camp.
The young men on the habituation team went out early each day and returned at night with tales of their experience and video records of fresh gorilla nests. William, one of the lead trackers, was able to bring back a video recording of an encounter with the troup -- we heard the silverback's challenge, and saw the scattering of leaves as the seven gorillas retreated. He and his fellow trackers have learned their lessons well, and are continuing to express their satisfaction with the expert involvement of their Field Supervisor, Joseph Melloh. I myself was able to assess Joseph's positive impact at every turn, from the forest to the village to the administrative office. With continuing donor support and hard work by these dedicated people, I believe that one year from today we will be able to commence a gorilla research program and will have helped extend the protected areas for wildlife in this critical buffer zone outside the Dja Reserve.
There is so much more to tell. Utmost is the need to support community development that runs parallel with this wildlife conservation effort. We must help the people who are helping the gorillas. Of course there are more adventures to report - rescue of an orphan chimpanzee, excitement of forest dwellers reading Koko's Kitten, initiating conservation education in the villages. But those stories will be added when I return to the USA, after December 18th. Also when I return I will post another dozen photos to the website, so that all can see the images of our journey to accompany the tales of discovery and achievement.
For now I wrap up my work here in Yaounde, with gratitude to the people of Cameroon whom I shall miss dearly when I leave. I am as certain that I shall remember them, as I am that I must return here soon.
I bid my friends and family in North America warm good wishes, and look forward to our reunion in a few days.
From Yaounde, Cameroon -- Anthony Rose - December 13, 2000
If you wish to support these vital new projects you are invited to make a donation to the WILDLIFE PROTECTORS FUND. Community aid professionals and corporate and non-profit leaders wishing to partner in the expansion of these programs are invited to contact Kevin Connelly, Director of Development for the Gorilla Foundation at (650) 216-6450 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE BIOSYNERGY INSTITUTE
P.O. Box 488
Hermosa Beach, California 90254