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Cameroon Mandrill baboons with scarlet-and-blue faces find homes along with bulky western lowland gorillas and a dozen other primate species in primary Congo rain forest where trees tower to a 200-foot (60-m) canopy in Dja Faunal Reserve, a primates’ paradise...

Cameroon is blessed by nature not only with minerals and agricultural resources—one of few African countries currently able to feed itself—but with forests and wildlife as abundant and diverse as any on the continent.

Cameroon Map

Lions and giant elands roam the savannah. Bongo antelopes and massive western lowland gorillas survive in still-primeval woodlands with monkeys, baboons, elephants, hippos, and forest buffalo. There are more than 300 species of mammals, 14 endemic; 850 bird species; 373 species of reptiles and amphibians—including perhaps densest, most diverse frog populations in the world—and an estimated 9,000 plant species, including at least 156 found nowhere else.

Nature reserves cover almost 15 percent of this central African country of 183,521 square miles (475,442 km2), nearly four times the size of England. (An eventual national goal of 20 percent has been set by law.) These include seven national parks, three World Biosphere Reserves, and one U.N. World Heritage Site. Most, unfortunately, are not adequately protected. Some have seriously deteriorated due to lack of funds, mismanagement, poaching, and often official corruption. Forests have been sold off to foreign interests for ecologically unsustainable logging with no benefit to local people while plundering of rare animals through sale of “bush meat” has grown and the crime rate has soared.

The situation may change with increasing awareness of economic benefits of ecotourism dependent on healthy parks and reserves. Organizations such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have helped, but much more help is needed.

Cameroon average annual temperatureCameroon average annual rainfall


 More about the Reserves

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