In the village, people notice population changes in animal species because of their everyday reliance on bushmeat for survival. A participatory mapping exercise allowed us to see which species are still present and where. Because this village is relatively isolated, most animal species were placed on the road, in the village, in the field, or in the community forest. Some species, like large predatory cats and elephants were placed in very specific, isolated islands because they have become difficult to find.
Marc Dethier, the Wildlife Wood Project’s new Technical Assistant, works with this community to understand what species exist in this forest and to what extent. One of the best ways to determine age, ultimately used to determine stress on the population, of these forest antelopes (cephalophe) is by looking at their teeth. Here, Marc “the dentist” teaches a boy how to tell the age of the cephalophe and what it means for the state of its populations in the forest.
Two cephalophes (forest antelopes) killed during the night of our overnight in village. The blue cephalophe to the left can be sold in village for between 2 and 3 US dollars. After examining their teeth, both are found to be young adults.
Arno, our guide in the forest, has been placing traps since his father taught him at the age of ten. He is now 14 and, as one of 11 children, says that he doesn’t want his younger brothers to learn this skill. This is a very intricate trap made from a combination of natural material and cable and it’s designed to trick the animals into going through the hole where the cable can be triggered.
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