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International Journal Of Rural Development, Environment And Health Research(IJREH)

Knowledge, Attitudes and perceptions of the local people towards the conservation of the Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS), South West Region, Cameroon

AKONGTE Peter NJUKANG , SEINO Richard AKWANJOH , TSI Evaristus ANGWAFOR , MVO Denis CHUO , NJIMIN Thomas AMIN


International Journal of Rural Development, Environment and Health Research(IJREH), Vol-3,Issue-1, January - February 2019, Pages 53-61, 10.22161/ijreh.3.1.5

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Local attitudes and perceptions are important concepts toward wildlife conservation. The success of chimpanzee conservation relies on the perceptions and the willingness of the local population to contribute towards its conservation. This study evaluates the knowledge, attitude and perception of local communities towards chimpanzee conservation in the Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary (THWS) in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. Structured questions based on a questionnaire (open and close ended questions), Focus group discussion and Participatory rapid Appraisal tools and techniques were used to collect information from 300 participants within the participatory age group of 20years and above from six out of 14 villages (Nkong, Bangang, Besali, Bechati, Folepi and Fossimundi) around the THWS. Fifty individuals were sampled from each village and a maximum of 2 individuals (the head of household and one other active participant) participated from each household. Collected data were stored in Microsoft excel spreadsheets 2007 after importation into XLSTAT 2007. 8. 4 statistic software for the different statistical tests. Chi-square test and Spearman correlation were conducted at 0.05 level of significance. The knowledge of interviewees on chimpanzee presence was supported by 90.33% of participants. Local knowledge on the population status of chimpanzee shows that 61% affirmed that their population is reducing primarily due to hunting and habitat loss of poor agriculture. According to 67% of interviewees, benefiting from wildlife through tourism, seed dispersion, bush meat and medicine influenced local attitudes and perception toward chimpanzee conservation while their destructive habits through crop riding, inadequate farmland for agriculture and high income derived from the sales of chimpanzee makes 33% of the local population to change their attitude and perception toward chimpanzee conservation. People with no formal education (62.96%) did not found chimpanzee conservation important whereas more educated people (76.76%) found chimpanzee conservation a priority. Most respondents (57.04%) said the idea of chimpanzee conservation was not supported due to high income (15,500FCFA) generated from the sales of chimpanzee. Increasing public awareness of the benefits and values of chimpanzee conservation through media (radios, televisions and smart phones), handbills, bill boards, seminars and symposiums, and films could help mitigate the poor attitudes of the local population towards chimpanzee conservation. Instigating outreach programs to communities living in close proximity to chimpanzee and other wildlife species is often high on the agenda of conservation NGOs with the assumption that long-term change can best be achieved through accelerating change in societal attitudes towards wildlife.

Attitude, Chimpanzee, Conservation programs, Knowledge, Perception, THWS.

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