Biodiversity conservation and wildlife management
In order to provide data for the establishment of sound conservation planning and the survival of poorly studied groups of biodiversity in Cameroon, LIFT and its partners are researching on the ecology, biology and socioeconomic exploitation of some key species in the Cameroon forest ecosystems. Amongst the species targeted, data collection is largely focused on highly commercialized beetles of Cameroon, mountain chameleons and the goliath frog (Conraua goliath).
The goliath frog (Conraua goliath)
This species of the family Ranidae is the world’s largest frog, endangered and largely exploited for food in Cameroon. It is known to occur in a very small range in the rain forests of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea in Centre Africa. This IUCN Redlist species live in rocks around rapids and cascades of rivers. They are nocturnal and only come out at night to look for food. The body length of adult sizes between 20cm to 32cm and can reach a maximum of 75cm the length of their legs is considered when extended. Some big adults can weigh up to 3.5kg. The distribution range of this frog in Cameroon has been identified across the South, Southwest and Littoral regions, but efforts are on to discover new habitats, as well as outline the major conservation threats to this species.
Many species of endemic chameleons are largely exploited for pet trade in Cameroon. They include: the Eisentraut’s chameleon (Chamaeleo eisentrauti), the Mountain chameleon (Chamaeleo montium), The Pfeffer’s chameleon (Chamaeleo pfeffer), the Norhtern Four-horned chameleon (Chamaeleo quadricornis gracilior), the Southern Four-horned chameleon (Chamaeleo quadricornis quadricornis), the Southern Peacock chameleon (Chamaeleo wiedersheimi perreti) and the Northern Peacock chameleon (Chamaeleo wiedersheimi wiedersheimi). These species of chameleons are amongst the protected reptiles in Cameroon, but they still suffer from decreasing populations due to habitat destruction and exploitation for pet trade.
Highly commercialized beetles of Cameroon
Four species of beetles are over exploited for pet trade in Cameroon, amongst which include Goliathus goliatus, Fornasinius aureosparsus, Chelorrhina kraatzi and Stephanocrates preussi. Current state of knowledge on their distribution range is less adequate, but spot-like occurrence is known to exist along the humid forest ecosystems of the Cameroon volcanic belt. The known ranges of these insects in Cameroon are mostly found in biotopes outside protected ecosystems. Consequently, their habitats suffer from increasing fragmentation and/or loss due to forest degradation and deforestation from agro-pastoral expansion and timber exploitation. The intense anthropic encroachment is therefore a major threat to these endemic species with spotted distribution.