An untouched ape-wilderness land is threatened by a road which cuts through the habitat in the Congo Basin. Billed as the ‘Road of Hope’, this highway running from Cameroon to the Republic of Congo, poses a big threat to one of the most significant rainforests in the continent of Africa. This proposed highway is going to run through the TRIDOM landscape. The TRIDOM landscape is a biodiversity hotspot covering Dja,Odzala and Minkébé – three famous protected areas, each in a different country. This area is home to more than 40,000 great apes as well as Central Africa’s largest elephant population. Incidentally the TRIDOM is in the path of a planned road link between Cameroon and Congo. Associated projects with this include a hydropower dam. Although this project’s estimated environmental impact assessment was reported so that only 750 hectares (1,850 acres) of woodland would be cleared for the road, actual site observation of work in progress indicates the impact will be much greater, covering an important and critical area. The forests in these parts of the country remain mostly intact, protected by the lack of roads and the treacherous terrain of hills, valleys and dense woodland, providing home to an estimated 23,000 great apes, notably teeming populations of endangered western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and central chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes). The new road twists through hills and valleys and makes its way through hundreds of tiny villages and towns, all the way to northern Congo, thus destroying virgin forests and crucial biodiverse habitat. Cameroon’s Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development has come up with a plan to lead a land-use planning initiative in the area. This move aims to satisfy the competing interests of conservation, timber exploration, mining, agriculture and dam building. NGOs like WWF will be providing advisory services, pointing out parts of the forest with high conservation value.
Image by: The World Hopper, pexels.com
As reported by Mongabay
Featured image – An engineer arrives at a worksite outside Ekom Village, where a new concrete bridge will replace an old plank passage. Image by Eugene N. Nforngwa for Mongabay.