Difficult realities of wildlife conservation in central Africa

Lauren Redmore

Welcome to the Dja Reserve where “poachers are outside of the law.” Even though the often-cited forestry law of 1994 considers the protection of the Reserve and its animals of upmost importance, poaching in and around the area is continually increasing.

The Zoological Society of London has been working on protected wildlife species monitoring in adjacent forest exploitation zones since 2007. The Wildlife Wood Project (WWP) this year has expanded to include a social team who will be working to develop a community surveillance network to enable villagers to denounce large-scale poaching activities. I’m on the far left and Leopoldine is next to me. Here we’re meeting with members of a Baka community to determine their need for and capacity to engage in locally-based anti-poaching activities.

This African palm civet on the left got his tail caught in a wire snare set by poachers operating in a logging concession. By the time the ZSL monitoring team got to him he was tired and non-aggressive. Oliver Fankem, the WWP assistant manager, is left with the cat’s tail after he was forced to cut it off to free the very relieved civet who quickly fled the scene.

The Chef de Poste for the Minister of Forests and Wildlife just outside of Lomié has, since beginning his post just 5 months ago, collected dozens of cartridges from hunters crossing his road block. Most of these cartridges, like the ones shown here, are used to kill small game like duikers or other small forest antelopes, while some of his collection contains ammunition used to kill large game, like elephants or buffalo. This ammunition, as written on the box, usually comes from China, and costs one dollar per cartridge. Most village hunters prefer to set wire snares because of the high costs for ammunition, particularly when the sale price of a duiker in village is around four dollars. Hunters with access to metal ammunition are poachers engaged in large-scale wildlife crime.

Select a blog

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!


We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.


From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.


A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Working for Wildlife

Ever wondered what a typical day as a zookeeper looks like, or what it's like to be a videographer at ZSL? Now you can find out!

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About Magazine

Read extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

ZSL Shop

Get updates on our latest ranges, be the first to hear about special offers, and find the perfect gift for animal lovers!

Chagos Expedition

The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

Nelson's Island Expedition

ZSL Institute of Zoology researchers are embarking on an exciting fieldwork expedition to Nelson’s Island in the Chagos Archipelago. Throughout the month, the team will share their research and experiences on an uninhabited tropical island!

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.