Category Archives: Cameroon

Buy Gorilla Tales to Support Distribution of the Book to African Schools

Jana Jirátová, 28th December
The Book of Gorilla Fairy Tales

Moja, the first gorilla born in the Czech Republic, has been helping rescue gorillas in Africa. An English version of the gorilla tales book is being published as part of the Year of the Gorilla (YOG), a UN initiative, to raise funds to finance distribution of the book in Congo-Brazzaville and to support a project aimed at the rescue of the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla.

Moja and Tatu Conquered Africa Last Year
Little gorillas Moja and Tatu and other characters from the fairy-tales from Prague zoo have won the hearts of children at home as well as in faraway Africa. Four thousand copies of the book in English and French were distributed to schools in Cameroon at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 with the aim to spark interest in wildlife and its protection among children. Many conservationists, including Richard Leakey and representatives of GRASP UN, have appreciated our goal and approach. However, we were most happy to receive positive response from children: “Dear Sirs, we, students of the public secondary school Bonadikombo, are happy to write to you this short message,” one of the letter read. “We love your book of tales because it teaches us about gorillas and their relatives. We like it for stories like the one about the white gorilla. Someone who has never seen gorillas before can now see them in the book. Big thank you for publishing it! The book helps us understand how gorillas live. Sincerely yours, Baah Vera.” Many supporters of the Revealed project have written to us asking for the book but the edition for Cameroon was not available for sale. We have therefore decided to publish a revised version of the gorilla fairy-tales for anyone to buy.

The disttribution was successful in Cameroon. Author: Miroslav Bobek

The book “Gorilla Fairy Tales” is published by Radioservis as part of the Year of the Gorilla project, a joint initiative of the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the UNEP/UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Besides thrilling stories the book features full-page photographs depicting members of the Prague zoo gorilla troop and many other animal heroes. To get your copy, send an e-mail to: [email protected] The price is 12 EUR for international sale + postage and packing. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to support projects aimed at protection of western lowland gorillas in Central Africa.

Book Heroes Help Raise Funds for Wild Gorillas
The most seriously endangered gorilla sub-species is Cross River Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla diehli). The total population has dropped below 300. Raising awareness about the critical situation of Cross River Gorilla is key to preserving the sub-species. That is why we decided to donate part of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the YOG2009 educational project aimed at protection of Cross River Gorilla in the Takamanda national park on the border between Cameroon and Nigeria.

Gorilla Tales for Congo-Brazzaville
After the success in Cameroon, our goal is to collect enough money to publish another batch for schools in Congo-Brazzaville. We would like children living in forest areas to build positive attitude towards gorillas.

Children in Cameroon get the Book of Fairy Tales. Now we want to spread it also in Congo-Brazzaville. Author: Miroslav Bobek

Congo-Brazzaville is an ideal target area for the distribution of a book about gorillas because it lies in the heart of the geographic range of Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) and is key for the protection of this gorilla sub-species. Several research and protectionist projects are taking place in the country aimed at Western Lowland Gorilla and chimpanzee. The projects include educational activities focusing on local children. We have received numerous applications for distribution of the book of gorilla tales and selected three organizations that expressed serious interest and have good international reputation. We are planning to provide each of them a thousand copies of the book in French.

You, too, can help! We will donate 2 EUR to the two projects for each copy sold. You can also help by donating any amount via Donation Box on the Wildlifedirect website or send money to our charitable fund, account No.: 555 555 552/0800, IBAN: CZ35 0800 0000 0005 5555 5552 SWIFT (BIC): GIBACZPX.

Thank you!

Ecoguards from Djoum: Risking their Lives

Ecoguards. Jean on the right. Author: Miroslav Bobek

Miroslav Bobek et al., 17 June 2009

The Dja biosphere reserve in the south-eastern Cameroon is guarded by four units of rangers called “ecoguards”. This sixty-strong force is supposed to protect more than half a million hectares of tropical rainforest. With worn-out shoes and no tents or communication technology they confront hordes of armed poachers.

Djoum is more than 250 km from Yaoundé. While the first three-fifths of the distance is a nice drive along a good tarmac road, the rest is a dirt road navigable only for 4×4 trucks, and sometimes not even for them in the rain season. Djoum is the seat of the subprefect, it has a health facility, primary schools and a lyceum, a large market, and most of the area is covered by mobile phone signal. Most importantly for us, though, one of four units of the ecoguards who protect the Dja biosphere reserve is stationed there.

Djoum city centre. On today's menu: duikers. Come tomorrow for porcupine. Author: Khalil Baalbaki

“Everyone eats bushmeat,” ecoguard Tomi told us when we first met. “And almost everyone hunts. We cannot be overly strict with people but rather try to convince them to kill fewer animals and avoid hunting the most strictly protected species.”

Whereas three years ago, we had problems finding and photographing bushmeat in Yaoundé, it was completely different in Djoum this time. We were offered bushmeat for lunch even in the auberge we were staying in.

“Do you have some other kind of meat?” we asked.
“No,” was the answer.
“Can’t you get us chicken or something?”
“Sure, but… chicken is not meat, is it?”

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.rozhlas.cz/img/flash/player/player6.swf?file=00939915.flv" width="500" height="400"/]

Photos from the patrol are available in the article On duty with ecoguards.

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Gorilla Fairy Tales ON AIR in Africa

Miroslav Bobek, 4 June 2009

Logo of CRTV - Autor:Khalil Baalbaki “She’s playing the young quite well! And the peacock, too…” producer Honza Jiran noted when choosing an actor for the French rendition of the gorilla fairy tales among 10 short-listed native speakers with more or less extensive acting experience. He eventually selected the one who interpreted the young and the peacock so nicely – Mélanie Ruppe.

After the success of the gorilla story book among schoolchildren in Cameroon (see Related Links in the category Book of gorilla fairy-tales) we decided to record a French rendition of the same as another way of helping children in Africa realise that gorillas deserve protection and that they, too, can help. (We should note that many people in Central Africa continue to perceive wild animals, including gorillas, as nothing more but a source of meat… I remember how surprise children in a forest village were to find out when browsing our book that a gorilla can have a name just like a human.)

Jan Jiran producing gorilla fairy talesWe prepare a publication of the book of Gorilla Stories for Congo. Without public subvention we can not develope this idea further. We would be glad if you contribute to achieve these efforts.

  • The Revealed charitable account finances protection of western lowland gorillas and educational activities in al countries where this subspecies of gorilla lives in the wild. To support the cause, you can send your donation to 555 555 552/0800, IBAN: CZ35 0800 0000 0005 5555 5552 or donate through wildlifedirect.

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Playful Adjibolo

Adjibolo, photo by Miroslav Bobek

Jana Jirátová, 9 May 2009

Thanks to our merchandise sale we have supported a primate sanctuary Limbe Wildlife Centre in Cameroon. During our last expedition into Cameroon and Central African Republic  we get to know Adjibolo – the second youngest gorilla in the LWC. 

We have presented her story in Live Webcasts from LWC and a few days ago on our websites together with the rest of the troop that occupies the small enclosure. Now you have a chance to see here closely. We have produced a short video for you from materials that we have brought back from Africa. It clearly shows that Adjibolo is lively and playful despite her tragic fate. 

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On Duty with Ecoguards (Illegal Bushmeat Thrives in Cameroon)

Ecoguards load the game on our truck. They have an off-road vehicle but it is in Yaoundé at the moment. They otherwise use motorcycles. They also have a lack of tents and have to sleep under plastic sheets as a shelter during their ten-day duties in the bush.

Miroslav Bobek, 30 April 2009

 “Yesterday, a road patrol seized gorilla hands and pieces of gorilla meat,” we were told by ecoguard Tomi when we stopped by the ECOFAC office in Djoum. We are back in Cameroon, south of the Dja biosphere reserve. We are in an area that generously supplies Yaoundé and other cities with bushmeat. Twelve ECOFAC officers stationed in Djoum are supposed to throttle or curb the supply. As our photo report suggests, it is a futile effort…

(You can expect more on the topic plus very sincere  interviews with ecoguards after we return from Africa.)

ATTENTION! THE CONTENT HEREINAFTER IS NOT SUITABLE FOR VIEWING BY CHILDREN!

It is dark outside and we are hiding with ecoguards in a hut some fifteen kilometres to the east of Djoum. Tomi is waiting – and we are waiting with him.

Hunting of some species (apes, elephants, crocodiles etc.) is strictly prohibited, while others can be hunted for private needs. Violations of the law are punishable with hefty fines and prison sentences. The boy in the checked shirt has been caught red-handed before but being juvenile, he escaped unpunished.

Ecoguards are now state officers. That grants them a salary and pension but not sufficient equipment. They wear worn-out shoes and uniforms (with the exception of Tomi who bought a new uniform with his own money).

The owner of the bushmeat has been caught three times before. And he is again carrying meat either for sale or for a client. Clients are usually well-off people from the city who order bushmeat from village hunters. They give the hunter ten shells and ask for pieces of game. The hunter can keep the remaining five shells as a reward… 

The owner of the bushmeat has been caught three times before. And he is again carrying meat either for sale or for a client. Clients are usually well-off people from the city who order bushmeat from village hunters. They give the hunter ten shells and ask for pieces of game. The hunter can keep the remaining five shells as a reward...

The consignment includes even the most strictly protected species. Bushmeat is not just a subject of trade but most often part of the daily diet. When we asked pre-school children in a Baka Pygmy village whether they had ever eaten gorilla meat, four fifths of them raised their hands.

A poacher hunted the game early in the morning but in the hot tropical climate, it is already attracting flies. Ecoguards will sell it later in the afternoon in a public auction. The proceeds will go to the state coffers.

Bushmeat is cheap in Djoum but the price grows on its way to Yaoundé or another large city. Countering the illegal trade are ecoguards as well as patrols of the Ministere des Forets et de la Faune and gendarmerie.

“I didn’t know this was forbidden,” said the driver. He probably lied; yet there is a certain difference between him and the poacher whom the ecoguards caught two hours ago.  They seized the game from both of them, checked their papers, and handed them subpoenas.

You can see more photos from our reportage on The Revealed website.  

Help us to fight against busmeat trade! Help us to educate local people! Your donation supports our conservational efforts…

Fairy-Tale Books and a CD

 Interview with Mrs. Dorothy Matute

Miroslav Bobek, 8 April 2009

Dorothy Matute, the headmistress of the Bonadikombo school, visited us in our hotel in Limbe, Cameroon. She was the first to obtain a CD with an audio rendition of gorilla fairy- tales from our book ‘L´histoire des Gorilles’ in French recorded by Jan Jiran.

The idea behind the CD is similar to that of the book – to spark interest in gorillas and environmental protection among African children. We are going to distribute it for free to schools and make it available also to local radio stations.

Listen to a story about a white gorilla from our French-language CD. Download link

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Letters from Cameroonian Schoolchildren

Letters from Bonadikombo school pupils.

Jana Jirátová, 9 April 2009

The Revealed has been aiming several years to support protection of western lowland gorillas in Central Africa. First we financially supported a primate rescue centre in Limbe but then decided to carry out a project of our own.

We published a book of fairy-tales about gorillas in English and French and distributed it to schoolchildren in Cameroon. Having been eagerly awaiting responses from children for five months, we have now learned how they liked our book.

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Children in Cameroon love gorilla baby Moja

Simone de Vries hands over letters and questionnaires to Jana Jiratova; LWC manager Felix Lankester in the background

Miroslav Bobek, April 8 2009

A few days ago, just after our arrival to the Limbe Wildlife Centre, Simone de Vries gave us two folders: the thinner one contained completed questionnaires, while the thicker one contained letters from children to Czech Radio, The Revealed, a mysterious person name Miralan Bobeko, or all three of them at the same time. They were reactions to the book of gorilla fairy-tales that the Revealed project published half a year ago for children in Cameroon and that was distributed by LWC.

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Gorilla fairy tales

Gorilla Stories

Miroslav Bobek, 27 March 2009

When visiting Cameroon in the spring of 2006 we realised that the best way to protect gorillas is to show the locals their beauty and intelligence. And when we published the first book of “gorilla” fairy tales, a little later in the Czech Republic, in which Moja naturally is the heroine, we weren’t far off from the idea to modify this book for African conditions and to distribute it at local schools.

Our goal was fulfilled last year in cooperation with the Limbe Wildlife Centre and eventually with a number of other organisations and individuals. Two thousand copies of the book were printed in French and two thousand copies in English reached Cameroon in November and were distributed free of charge during the first few weeks of this year (more in the article by Jana Jirátové here). The books were distributed by nature conservationists not only by vehicles, but also on motorcycles in rainforest regions…

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After the Second Broadcast

Tinu. Foto Miroslav Bobek

Miroslav Bobek, 7 April 2009

I am trying to imagine what a TV show about the Limbe Wildlife Centre would look like. It would depend on the producers yet I believe it would be less authentic and contain less footage of gorillas than our two live webcasts despite all the mistakes we made. Internet and new technologies offered us an excellent opportunity to show the public what we wanted, live, without any additional touches, using technology that we have brought with us in our backpacks…

As for the aforementioned mistakes, let me give one example: it is not three but five thousand kilometres from here to Prague as the crow flies… I am not saying this is a negligible detail but truth is we had many things to deal with simultaneously… Nevertheless, as we can judge from reactions that have reached Limbe, our online transmissions were a success. This has encouraged us to consider another live webcast but not from LWC. More on that after Easter.

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