Dja Conservation Complex

Dja forest people

ZSL is working with the Cameroonian government’s Conservation Service and other partners to protect the Dja conservation complex in South East Cameroon.

Summary

The Dja conservation complex in Cameroon, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is globally recognized for its importance to biodiversity, but is under threat from poaching, expansion of extractive industries and a lack of capacity and support for the Conservation Service who manage the reserve. ZSL are working with the Cameroonian government and the conservation community to address these threats and protect the Dja and its threatened large mammals.

Why we are there

The Dja conservation complex covers almost 2 million hectares of moist lowland forest in the south and east of Cameroon. It encompasses a core Dja Biosphere Reserve and a wider periphery zone mosaic of forestry concessions, agricultural land, mines and community forests. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and an IUCN SCC conservation priority for threatened species like the African elephant, western gorilla and common chimpanzee. However, the Dja’s unique ecosystem and wildlife are in crisis as a result of poaching, the expansion of extractive industries and a lack of capacity and support for the responsible Cameroonian government authority to protect the area. The World Heritage Committee has expressed its concerns over these threats and requested urgent actions be taken to address them. Urgent action is therefore required to support the efforts of the Cameroonian authorities to protect the area and secure its status as a key stronghold for the great apes and African elephant.

Key Achievements & Goals

This project is a collaboration between the Cameroonian government and the conservation community and will ensure improved and sustained protection of the Dja landscape and help secure its status as a key stronghold for the great apes and African elephant. This is achieved by: taking direct action to combat illegal poaching, through equipping and training of eco-guards, implementing the use of SMART for law enforcement monitoring and reporting and pursuing effective prosecution of wildlife crime, and engaging other groups such as local communities and private sector in conservation and protection activities. This work will be closely linked to the activities of the Wildlife Wood Project which operates in timber concessions in the periphery of the reserve.

Project information

​Key Species

  • Forest Elephant, Endangered
  • Western Lowland Gorilla, Critically Endangered
  • Common Chimpanzee, Endangered

People involved

  • Vince Smith manages the Dja Complex project

Partners & Sponsors

  • Ministère des Forêts et de la Faune de la République du Cameroun (MINFOF);
  • African Wildlife Foundation

Kindly funded by: Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation; IUCN Save Our Species (SOS)