Gorilla Conservation in Deng Deng National Park

Cameroon

Gorilla Conservation in Deng Deng National Park

This programme on great apes provides participants with the rare opportunity to contribute toward enhancing the conservation of the endangered western lowland gorillas in Deng-Deng National Park, East region of Cameroon.

This programme on great apes provides participants with the rare opportunity to contribute toward enhancing the conservation of the endangered western lowland gorillas in Deng-Deng National Park, East region of Cameroon. Deng-Deng National Park hosts the greatest population (600 individuals) of the most northern western low land gorillas in the wild.

Two or more weeks volunteering on great apes conservation will give volunteers an opportunity to work toward long-term conservation of this charismatic species by taking part in gorilla surveys in the rainforest of Cameroon as well as conducting conservation education and awareness raising activities in communities adjacent to this protected area.

 

Highlights

  • Helping to protect Western Lowland Gorillas
  • Training on data collection
  • Techniques participating in great apes surveys
  • Configuring and setting camera traps
  • Environmental education activities in schools and communities
  • Meeting the friendly chiefs and people of Cameroon; and
  • Living and working in a pristine nature area

Field surveys

The team will be trekking through and camping in the forest to record information on great apes in the dense equatorial rainforest, this information includes direct and indirect observation of great ape’s presence. A sampling design is established and volunteers receive training prior to the start of the surveys. Each survey period will last two, three, four weeks or longer depending on the interests of the volunteer. Life during this period is more or less nomadic as volunteers leave the camp tracking great apes for 5 to 7 hours a day depending on the sites surveyed. There are breaks every after three (3) to five (5) days depending on the duration of the trip.

Community education

Schools and communities will be visited to educate the pupils, student’s local people on conservation of this unique wildlife species. This will raise awareness and change their perception toward Gorilla conservation.

Sightseeing

Before and after your stay, you can visit interesting places like the Zoo-Botanic Garden in Mvog-Betsi, Yaounde; the Reunification Monument; as well as cultural sites in communities adjacent to the protected area.

What Difference Does This Project Make?

Volunteers gain exposure on conservation realities at the local level; they gain the opportunity to assist in research projects, great apes surveys and attend workshops and meetings with local communities and schools. Volunteers also receive training in great apes surveys and biodiversity monitoring, the use of GPS and navigation tools, data collection, and environmental education. Adjacent communities learn from community/school education activities conducted by volunteers – and vice versa you will learn a lot from them about the forest and its inhabitants.

The survival of gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates is constantly threatened by agricultural encroachment (the conversion of forest habitats to farms and plantations), hunting, trapping, and the growing illegal bushmeat market. With the help of past volunteers, ACF supported the production of the Management and implementation plan of the Deng-Deng National Park and the project is now working to update the status reports of great apes and other mammals in the area.

Field conditions

Volunteers will be staying in our tented camp along the riverfront. Usually each volunteer gets their own tent but might have to share if the need arises. The camp is basic but well established with some home comforts, like a seated toilet and a hot bush shower – which really makes a difference after a long hot day in the bush. There is a small kitchen where volunteers can cook their food over a gas cooker and sometimes there will be cook outs around the campfire. Refrigeration is limited so the diet is predominantly vegetarian. The project provides food for three meals per day, but the volunteers are welcome to supplement with some comfort foods like chocolate and crisps. Clean drinking water is available unlimited.

We use solar power to charge phones, laptops and torches. However, our solar system is not extensive so charging facilities are limited (particularly in cloudy weather) and will prioritise the project communications and work necessities. We employ full-time staff in all the camps in various capacities, including for security, so the camps are never unattended.

As we are in the African bush there is always the possibility of encountering wildlife, both big or small. On arrival all volunteers are given clear safety briefings to minimise any dangers. All management staff have basic first aid qualifications and the camp has a fully comprehensive medical first aid kit.

Languages: English and French

Age range: 18-70 years.

Group size: Max. 4 volunteers at a time.

Weather

Rainy Season: During the rainy season, there are heavy rains and temperature ranges from 20 to 25oc and may go down to 18oc. Some of your clothes may get wet if not fully protected in water proof nylon and may not dry up as fast as expected. It could be slippery and we advise to bring good rubber boots.

Dry Season: During the dry season the temperature is fairly high, up to 270C in the forest and communities. It is warmer in the communities than in the forest because of the trees, which give shade and also regulate the atmospheric temperature. Hiking in the forest during this season is much easier.

Topography

The area consists largely of gently undulating hills known as “half-oranges” due to their resemblance to that fruit.

Road network

The roads are good and accessible from Yaounde to Bertoua.  From Bertoua to forest adjacent community there is an unpaved road. The roads are more accessibly in the dry seasons.  Please be aware that you may lose some hours because of the poor road network.

Lodge/ Hygiene and Sanitation

The lodging conditions changes as you approach the project sites.

In towns, there are clean lodges with water systems, toilets and shower baths. The hygienic condition of the lodges varies with the location.

In communities, there is poor hygiene in some community houses so stick to the advice of your field coordinator. You won’t find water system toilets, or shower baths. There are only pit toilets in the communities. You will have your bath in a stream or in the local hotel using a bucket and drink bottle water.

In the forest, you will sleep in tents using (inflatable) mats. There are no toilets so you will use boreholes which you will dig yourself and cover up after usage. In the forest, bathing and all other washing and cleaning is done in the stream (please bring biodegradable soap only). You can treat the stream/spring water with water purifying tablets/drops before consumption.

Meals

You will eat local traditional dishes depending on the area. We ensure that meals such rice, pasta, beans, irish chip, yams and plantains are available.  in the forest, we shall cook our own food and perishable foods will not be best in the field, therefore we usually stick to simple food such as rice, pasta, chips, biscuits, cakes etc.

Lighting

There is no electricity in the communities and at night you will use bush lamps or flash lights, in the communities and at the campsites.

Deng Deng National Park is located in the East Region of Cameroon, in the Lom-et- Djerem division. The park covers an area of about 523 km2 and lies between latitude 13° 23 to 13° 34 East and longitude 05° 5 to 05° 25 North, in the North-Eastern part of the lower Guinean forest. It was declared a category II IUCN protected area in 2010 in order to protect great apes, particularly the most northern population of the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) that was reported to be present in this area but threatened by anthropogenic activities within and around the Deng-Deng forest reserve.  

The park also protects large population of chimpanzees, monkeys and ungulates including buffalo, bay duiker, blue duiker, yellow-backed duiker, red-flanked duiker, bongo and sitatunga. Water dwelling mammals including hippopotamus and swamp otter have also been confirmed in this area.

The cost to participate in the Mengame Gorilla Sanctuary project depends on the duration of your stay. These funds will be used to cover the costs of the volunteers during their stay and and includes a donation to the project.

2 weeks volunteering = $ 1,980

1 Month Volunteering = $2,870

Dates

Schedule for 2 Weeks Volunteering

MONTH

BOOKING CODE

      ARRIVAL DATE

      DEPARTURE DATE

JANUARY

AE2W1901

Mon

7th

Sun

20th

AE2W1902

Fri

18th

Thu

31st

FEBRUARY

AE2W1903

Tue

5th

Mon

18th

AE2W1904

Sat

9th

Fri

22nd

MARCH

AE2W1905

Mon

4th

Sun 

17th

AE2W1906

Sun

10th

Sat

23rd

APRIL

AE2W1907

Mon

1st

Sun

14th

AE2W1908

Sun

7th

Sat

20th

AE2W1909

Fri

12th

Thu

25th

MAY

AE2W1910

Sat

4th

Fri

17th

AE2W1911

Thu

9th

Wed

22nd

JUNE

AE2W1912

Sat

1st

Fri

14th

AE2W1913

Sat

15th

Fri

28th

NO BOOKING FOR JULY AND AUGUST

This is the heart of the rainy season

SEPTEMBER

AE2W1914

Sun

15th

Sat

28th

 

 

 

 

 

OCTOBER

AE2W1915

Sun

6th

Sat

19th

AE2W1916

Sat

12th

Fri

25th

NOVEMBER

AE2W1917

Mon

4th

Sun

17th

AE2W1918

Sat

9th

Fri

22nd

DECEMBER

AE2W1919

Sun

1st

Sat

14th

 

Schedule for Four Weeks Volunteering

BOOKING CODE

ARRIVAL DATES

DEPARTURE DATE

AE1M1901

January

Tue

8th

February

Thu

7th

AE1M1902

February

Thu

14th

March

Wed

13th

AE1M1903

March

Wed

20th

April

Fri

19th

AE1M1904

April

Sat

27th

May

Sun

26th

AE1M1905

May

Fri

31th

June

Sun

30th

AE1M1906

June

Mon

3rd

July

Tue

2nd

NO BOOKING FOR JULY AND AUGUST

AE1M1907

September

Mon

30th

Oct

Tue

29th

AE1M1908

November

Thu

7th

Dec

Fri

6th

AE1M1909

December

Sun

15th

Jan 2020

Tue

14th

What’s included?

  • Pick up from the airport and drop off after expedition
  • 4 nights lodging in a hotel (2 nights on arrival and 2 on departure)
  • Food and water
  • Guides and porters
  • Transport from airport to project sites and back
  • Local transport circulation within towns
  • Local communication sim card

What’s not included?

  • International Flights
  • Medical and Travel Insurance
  • Personal Kit
  • Inoculations and Medication
  • Visa (can range in price from $100-$120 US).
  • Departure tax at the airport – approx $20
  • Occasional meal out in town (ranging from $5-12

    Will someone meet me at the airport?

    Yes, please send your flight itinerary to us at least two weeks in advance of the expedition start date. The volunteer coordinator or representative will meet you in the public area outside customs and bring you to your hotel.

    What should I do if my flight is delayed?

    Please notify us as soon as possible and confirm your new arrival times so the expedition leader can arrange your transportation.

    What should I do if I arrive before the scheduled arrival date?

    If you choose to spend time in-country before the expedition begins, please plan to meet your team at the designated airport or hotel within the specified arrival window on the first day of the program in order to be transported to the local office and the field sites.

    Any qualifications needed?

    No specific qualification is required to be part of this projects, but volunteers (18 to 70 years) must be highly motivated and physically fit as the environment can be demanding involving lots of trekking. Volunteers are coming from all over the world; students, workers and any other interested person(s); as individual(s) or in group(s), take part in this programme

    What do I need to take along when coming?

    These are some suggested items you may want to take along while coming to Cameroon for the programme. Not everything may be applicable to every participant.

    • Digital Camera
    • Lightweight, easily erected mosquito net-essential against malaria (not compulsory)
    • Insect repellents
    • Water purifying tablets/water filter
    • Dental floss
    • Tampons
    • Binoculars
    • Alarm clock
    • Map distance learning
    • Torch (flashlight) and spare bulbs and batteries to be used in the jungle, communities and even in the urban areas during electricity cuts
    • Small towel to be used in the communities/jungle or in town for cheaper hotels that have none
    • Earplugs for noisy hotels
    • Plastic rain poncho/lightweight windproof waterproof jacket, which can double as a ground mat and is easier than carrying an umbrella
    • Hat
    • Penknife or Swiss Army Knife

    Gorilla Conservation in Deng Deng National Park

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