Beyond the traditional challenge of raising - in an extremely fragile context, communities’ awareness on conservation actions, the Natural Parks operators in Central African Republic (CAR) are facing specific security issues: poaching from armed groups, presence of IDPs, armed transhumance.
In this session held on 16th June 2021 and moderated by Mr. Didier Nils, Manager of the Bêkou Trust Fund, speakers discussed how to balance and integrate security/development/conservation approaches. They addressed sensitive questions such as militarisation of eco-guards, recruitment in/outside local communities, difficulty of developing income-generating activities and lack of enforcement of regulations. Speakers also presented their innovative solutions: from park management models, to cattle herders’ trainings to monitor and educate transhumant herders, to valorization of natural resources conservation and territorial planning.
Mr. Antonio Bóveda, Country Director - Central African Republic at WCS, discussed how to protect wildlife in fragile states while increasing resilience in the local population. For instance, WCS is shaping a conservation-friendly transhumance approach, by creating collaborative links between herders, who use the authorized transit routes, and meat sellers in local markets. This pilot project aims to meet protein needs at accessible prices, benefiting both people and wildlife.
Mr. Bóveda also noted that wildlife sightings have significantly increased in just one year of implementing conservation and anti-poaching strategy. Last year, new populations of key species such as giraffes, hippos and elephants were reported thank to the joint effort of park rangers, community scouts and transhumance agents. Despite challenges in Central African Republic, WCS is committed to develop a conservation program across more than 10.4 million hectares of protected areas. In close collaboration with local communities and government bodies, WCS is building a pathway towards positive dynamics of security, conservation and sustainable development.
Due to internet connection issues in Bangui, Colonel Ulrich Frédéric Lombe-Zanza, Mr. Thierry Aebischer, and Mr. Mohamed ElHady Oumarou were not able to join the session.