Indigenous Peoples’ Management of Forest and Wildlife Resources: Case study of Local Communities in the Southern Periphery of the Korup National Park, Southwest Region, Cameroon

Authors : George Agri Ambukwa; Dr. Tatah Jean-Louis Banadzem

Volume/Issue : Volume 7 - 2022, Issue 1 - January

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In Africa, most forest communities for over centuries have developed traditional norms to ensure the sustainable management of forest and wildlife resources, in which their livelihood highly depend upon. The study was an attempt to investigate the relationship between the belief systems and taboos of the local communities in the Southern periphery of the Korup National Park (KNP), vis-à-vis the sustainable management of forest/wildlife resources. A total of 485 out of 775 households (62.84% effective respondents) was sampled in 13 villages in the region. Questionnaire, interviews and field observations constituted the main tools used in data collection. The findings revealed that some significant and endangered wildlife species such as chimpanzees, baboons, mandrills and elephants are tabooed due to the local belief of totemic kinship, which holds that some local people transform into the above animals, and killing them implies killing the totem owners. This view was affirmed by 93.4% of the respondents. The chi statistic test (χ²) value of 139.055497854, greater than the value of significance (21.026 observed on the χ² table), corroborated our findings on the view that there is an inextricable link between the belief systems and taboos of the local people and the sustainable management of forest/wildlife resources. This implication is that these wildlife species are fully protected for the benefit of the ecological system. It was found out that, the Ekpesecret society (the leopard cult) protects wildlife species in the study area; as it regulates wildlife harvest and ensure respect for indigenous protected areas (shrines and sacred groves). The study recommends the integration of indigenous belief systems and taboos linked to wildlife conservation into the national Forestry/wildlife law(s). There is also need to reinforce local wildlife management institutions as there are being threatened of extinction by ‘modernity’. This will safeguard the socio-cultural wellbeing of the local communities and empower them to participate in the sustainable management of forest/wildlife resources in the region

Keywords : Indigenous people, Belief systems, Taboos, myths, forest/wildlife resources, conservation.


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