Deriving Sustainable Value from Wildlife in the Western Congo Basin: Before it’s too late

 

 

Please download the Document here below:

Before it's too late.pdf (3.4 MiB)

 

 

Wildlife in the Western Congo Basin is rapidly disappearing. The West­ern Congo Basin—WCB, defined here as being composed of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo—is rap­idly losing a significant proportion of its wild animals to poaching and unsustainable hunting. This trend extends across many species that face pressure from hunting for bushmeat and for commercial export of valuable animal products, as well as habitat degradation.

 

 

Wildlife in the Western Congo Basin is rapidly disappearing. The West­ern Congo Basin—WCB, defined here as being composed of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo—is rap­idly losing a significant proportion of its wild animals to poaching and unsustainable hunting. This trend extends across many species that face pressure from hunting for bushmeat and for commercial export of valuable animal products, as well as habitat degradation.

 

 

Poaching and unsustainable hunting are de­velopment issues, and are causing the West­ern Congo Basin countries to lose an import­ant resource for economic diversification

 

 

As a result of the overexploitation, the basis for building a sustainable forest economy is rapidly being eroded, the rule of law undermined, the protein supply of rural populations threatened, the regenerative capacity of forests used for commercial logging and subsistence purposes reduced, and their resilience to climate change threatened. In turn, the drivers for poaching and unsustainable hunting include poverty and weak governance. In short, poaching and unsus­tainable hunting are not merely conservation issues; they are development issues.

 

 

The conservation response has struggled in the face of limited value of wildlife to commu­nities and governments

Poaching and unsustainable hunting are not new phenomena in the WCB. They have been the focus of significant efforts by governments and their development partners over the past couple of decades. Most of these efforts have concentrated on the establishment and protec­14

 

 

tion of protected areas. Especially where these have received significant external assistance and field well-managed ranger forces, they have succeeded in better protecting wildlife than areas outside protected areas.

 

 

However, the ongoing poaching epidemic has also shown the limits of an approach to conser­vation that is primarily rooted in outright pro­tection and that relies on restricting access to wildlife resources and their habitat. In an envi­ronment where communities and governments derive relatively few direct benefits from wild­life, this approach on its own risks misaligning incentives for conservation. Compounded with weak governance and burgeoning demand for wildlife products, this has limited the conserva­tion of wildlife resources.

 

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