8. Data-driven participatory wildlife management

1. Approach’s Outline and Features

Based on an ecological survey of wildlife and surveys on the hunting activities of locals, this approach examines wildlife monitoring methods, in which locals can work proactively on a daily basis to enhance sustainable wildlife management, comply with government regulations and sustain their daily activities.

Counting the number of animals hunted by locals and recognizing the effect of their hunting on animal populations is expected to bring home the impact of their hunting to locals effectively. Once this can be done, wildlife management practices like adjusting the amount of hunted in response to hunting pressure will be established and help encourage sustainable wildlife management across the region.

Wildlife management, Camera trapping method, Indigenous knowledge

2. Description of the project from which the approach is derived

2-1. Introduction

Some 40% of Cameroon is forested and home to endangered mammals like gorillas, chimpanzees and African forest elephants. The Cameroonian government is striving to protect wildlife and manage its tropical forest resources sustainably by establishing national parks. People living in their vicinity depend on forest resources for much of their food, fuel and other needs. Bushmeat is an important source of protein and a means of income but hunting by locals for personal consumption is subject to government control, which could hinder their livelihoods. To avoid conflict between local people and government, the need to consider measures for sustainable wildlife use based on data collected with local participation has been underlined.

2-2. Details of the measures taken

  • To understand the population of game animals, the camera-trapping method was used to estimate animal distribution, density and activity patterns. Surveys for duikers (small antelope species), the main game species hunted by locals, were conducted using a combination of automatic camera traps and direct observation, whereupon the  results were compared. Consequently, the camera trapping method emerged as efficient and accurate.
  • To estimate density effectively via the camera trapping method, a manual was developed including information on the number of cameras to be set, duration of setting, personnel and time required for setting and statistical modeling to analyze the videos taken. It is essential to acquire the so-called indigenous knowledge of locals when preparing the manual, particularly regarding information on the location and timing of setting cameras. The manual was intended to be used by local officers and researchers who were going to implement this approach with locals.
  • To examine the effects of human activities on animal population, we investigated the location of forest camps used by locals, the nature of their activities at the camps, the timing of their activities, and the trajectory of forest trails. The results showed that their camping location and duration of their stay depend on their objectives, such as hunting.
  • To examine the impact of human activities on the animal population, the location of forest camps used by locals, the nature and timing of their activities at camps and the trajectory of forest trails were investigated and data on forest use by locals were collected. According to this data, the camp sites most frequently used by locals were located in a national park where hunting was prohibited and situated about 20 km away from their village. Their main purpose was to hunt and gather fruit and nuts etc. The locations of camp sites and the length of their stays varied depending on the animals and plants they were targeting and the season in question.
  • Findings from the camera trapping survey were examined while also taking into consideration findings from data on forest use by locals to seek certain indicators to be used as a monitoring method to be conducted by locals. It emerged that the ratio of the number of Red and Blue Duikers hunted (R/B ratio) depended on hunting pressure. The density of large Red Duikers (of 15kg or so in body weight) is low around the villages, while small Blue Duikers (with a body weight of around 5kg) have higher densities. The further away from the village, the higher the density of Red Duikers and the relatively lower the density of Blue Duikers. These trends may be attributed to the high hunting pressure around the villages, which changed the composition of the fauna and resulted in smaller prey. Accordingly, the R/B ratio, obtained by counting the number of Red and Blue Duikers hunted by locals, would allow locals to easily assess the impact of their own hunting pressure.
  • To monitor wildlife populations with local participation, it is preferable to use indicators obtained by monitoring locals’ daily activities. The R/B ratio obtained here is a desirable monitoring indicator because it uses the number of animals hunted, as obtained from the locals’ daily hunting activities.
  • To manage wildlife sustainably using the indicators (R/B ratio) presented here, the following points need to be considered:
    1) Creating criteria for decision-making, such as adjusting hunting pressure using the indicators obtained;
    2)  Options for restricting hunting methods and establishing no-hunting zones according to management objectives;
    3) Stakeholders who should participate in management activities implementation;

(Perspectives on sustainability)
Due to human resource development, some researchers in Cameroon have learned the camera trapping method and become capable of setting up camera traps and estimating wildlife density.

3. Analysis of the approach

3-1. Impact

With the effective indicators for wildlife management derived from regular hunting by locals, they can be expected to participate proactively in the sustainable management of animal population.

3-2. Lessons learned

  • Locals can play a key role in wildlife management once they recognize the usefulness of hunting data and how to utilize it . To establish a sustainable wildlife management system, there is a need for administrative officials to acknowledge locals’ roles and support them in participating in the management process.

4. Relevant information

NbS Approach Category2-2. 8
Title of the project from which the approach is derivedCo-creation of innovative forest resource management by integrating indigenous knowledge and ecological methods
CountryRepublic of Cameroon
Republique du Cameroun
Implementing term2018/7/15 – 2023/7/4
Implementing organizationsMinistry of Scientific Research and Innovation (MINRESI), Institute of Agricultural Research for Development (IRAD), University of Dschang, University of Douala, University of Yaounde
Supporting organizationsJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Center for Africa Area Studies of Kyoto University
Report/Tool/GuidelineCamera Trap Methodology for Wildlife Density Estimation with the REST Model – A Handbook Focusing on Rainforest Mammals
Contributors to this articleYasuhisa Tanaka, Junichiro Matsumoto/Japan Forest Technology Association (JAFTA)