On the 15th of February 2016, Eco Relief will launch activities to mark the start of a bat conservation project in Ekona, a community in the South West Region of Cameroon. This initiative is being undertaken with financial support from the Rufford Foundation – to whom we express our gratitude and look forward to a sustainable partnership.
This project falls within the framework of Eco Relief’s Endangered Species Conservation Programme and has as uniqueness an integrated approach that will connect conservation outcomes to sustainable development. This sustainable development is the direct socio-economic benefits accruing to members of the community in which the conservation project is being undertaken. We see this as the greatest incentive to make all our conservation efforts have the backing of the community as well as secure sustainability.
The project is targeting cocoa farmers in the community whose activities constitute a major cause of deforestation that is depleting bat habitats and driving them to extinction. Deliberate killing of bats by farmers as source of meat/additional income is also decimating bat population. This project therefore seeks to address the problem by changing farmers’ behaviour and develop their capacity to practice bat-friendly farming methods that guarantee added value in farm products and consequently secure better market prices to boost household income. It’s a win-win for bats and humans!