Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon, is a country in West Africa. It is home to people speaking more than 1,738 languages, with French and English being the official languages. The county, dubbed “Africa in miniature” is geologically diverse with beaches, savanna, wildlife, and rainforests. It is the 53rd largest country in the world with a total area of 183,569 square miles. The country is five major geographic zones, warm semiarid climate, tropical savanna climate, monsoon climate, and equatorial climate. One of the countries most diverse ecosystems are found in the Dja Faunal Reserve.
5. Description -
The Dja Faunal Reserve is located in southeastern Cameroon. It was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 due to its diversity of species and untouched natural habitats. The reserve is home to five endangered species and is almost surrounded by the Dja River. The Reserve is the largest protected rainforest in Africa. It was founded in the 1950 and forms part of the wider Congo Basin
4. Climate and Geography -
The average annual temperature of the reserve is 74 Degrees Fahrenheit. August is the coldest month with the average daily temperature as low as 64 Degrees Fahrenheit, while April is its hottest month with the average daily temperature as high as 86 Degrees Fahrenheit. It is classified as a wet equatorial climate and is dominated by warm, moist and tropical air masses. The reserve receives rain, an average of 61 inches annually and streams are filled with water throughout the year. Global warming is gradually changing the pattern of climate in the park as dry seasons are becoming longer and the wet seasons experiencing violent rainfall and the park threatened by hurricanes that could cause damage. The reserve is flat except for the southeast that is partially hilly. Rapids and waterfalls characterize the rivers in the reserve. The vegetation is composed of dense rainforests with canopies of 30 to 40 m and shrubs cover the forest floor.
3. Tourism and Education -
The diversity of species of animals and plants living in the reserve help it to attract thousands of tourists annually. The park also attracts educational trips and researchers researching mainly on chimpanzees. It offers a spectacular spot for bird watchers and photographers. The rainforest provides a suitable environment for those seeking adventure and camping expeditions during the dry season. The Baka Pygmies found in the park showcase a preserved culture that has not been influenced by the western culture. Even though it is considered almost impenetrable to humans, the deep parts of the forest can be viewed from the air where tourist get a chance to see the animals that only reside in the deep forest.
2. Habitat and Biodiversity -
The reserve is home to more than 1,500 plant species, more than 107 species of mammals, and 320 species of birds. The warm and wet climate promotes and supports a larger variety of plant species than any other ecoregion in the world. The five ecoregions in the reserve ensure the sustainability of animals and plants through adaptation of the suitable conditions to survive. Trees, water, and the shrubs ensure continued availability of food and means to avoid predators. Gorillas and Chimpanzee thrive in the park due to lack of predators and plenty of food and tree cover. The forest elephant is also found in the reserve. The nearly extinct gray parrot is also found in the reserve.
1. Environmental Threats and Conservation Efforts -
The Dja Conservation Services manage the reserve. It receives funds from several local and international conservation partners. The funds are used to support the staff and funding conservation projects in reserve. The reserve management has established anti-poaching strategies, regular patrols by rangers and cooperation between wildlife rangers and forest rangers help reduce human encroachment and human effects on the reserve. The collection of data such as animal censuses helps conservationists to analyze the patterns of migration, poaching, and unplanned ecological changes that occur within the reserve. Partnerships with the local populations living along the fringes of the reserve have also helped to reduce poaching.
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