Other Conservation Project

In addition to the conservation activities together with our partners: Max Planck Institute and the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, Africa’s Eden also supports individuals researchers, mostly in terms of on-the-ground logistical support and accommodation. Below a few examples of supported research by Africa’s Eden.

The California Academy of Sciences – Gulf of Guinea Expeditions

The involvement of the California Academy of Sciences, the oldest scientific institution in the western United States, on the islands of São Tomé & Príncipe began in 2001 with herpetologist Dr.Robert C. Drewes and his interest in the origins of the unique amphibian fauna of the islands.

The goals of the expeditions are to document, analyze and describe the unique endemic fauna and flora of the oceanic islands of São Tomé and Príncipe with emphasis on poorly studied groups. They feel that the citizens of the Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, along with the rest of the world, must be made fully aware of the unique biological nature of their islands so that informed decisions on future development plans can be made.

With the help of Africa’s Eden, the expedition team was able to include 13 different scientists during Gulf of Guinea Expedition III.

Image by Dong Lin; the tiny, 31-million year old island of Príncipe is the only home of Africa’s largest treefrog, Leptopelis palmatus – the Príncipe Giant Treefrog. It is one of the world’s rarest frogs, as well.

Butterfly Research & Book by Gaël Vande Weghe

For over 10 years, Gaël Vande Weghe did field research on butterflies in Gabon, and studied butterfly collections in museums all over the world (Royal Museum of Central Africa in Brussels, Natural History Museum in Paris, British Museum in London, Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsbug, African Butterfly Institute in Nairobi).
Gaël is currently writing a book on the collected data. Although other books exist on butterflies in Central Africa (covering the area from Senegal to Cameroon), the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and of the area south of the Zambezi, there is no book on the butterflies of Gabon. As Gabon is one of the most richest regions with respect to butterflies, Gael

The book is expected to be published in French at the end of 2009. Contact us if you would like to order a copy.

Searching for Gabon’s sacred rainforest caves with WCS and National Geographic

In July 2008, cavers and scientists embarked on an exploratory expedition to caves in the rainforests of Gabon. In Gabon, they spent 6 weeks exploring and mapping undiscovered rainforest caves and completing studies on cave archaeology, biology, and geology. The team travelled around 1500 km to explore three of the countries karst regions. In each region the team canvassed areas deep in virgin rainforest searching for unknown caves and also re-visited previously discovered caves to continue surveying and studying them.

A brief summary of their findings

  • Discovered the longest cave in Gabon (Grotte Mbenaltembe) at 2.4 kilometers long (1 km longer than the previous record).
  • Explored 15 caves, 11 of which were newly discovered by our team with the help of locals.
  • Measured and mapped 13 caves.
  • A total of 5.5 km of cave passage were mapped! A huge geographical addition to Central Africa.
  • Discovered a beautiful 1 km long river cave, perfect for possible eco-tourism ventures.
    Found and photographed 5 distinct species of frogs inside the caves (a rare phenomenon), 1 of which is potentially new to science.
  • Working with WCS to form a report that will be used to further lobby UNESCO into protecting the caves as a world heritage site. The caves are currently candidates.
  • Have sparked interest in future karst/cave research in Gabon and more importantly in Central Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo is the next target.

West African Manatee Research in Gabon, by Lucy Keith, Wildlife Trust

West African manatees (Trichechus senegalensis) live in the waters of Gabon, but face numerous threats throughout their range, and the lack of basic knowledge on their distribution, behavior and ecology is considered a great hindrance to their conservation. They are highly susceptible to incidental capture in fishing nets and are hunted almost everywhere they occur in West Africa. There are no recent estimates of abundance and the impact of hunting and habitat destruction are poorly documented, but the trade in manatee bushmeat is well known in Gabon and elsewhere in West Africa (Powell 1996, Reeves 1988, WCS-Gabon and WWF, unpublished data).

In 2006, Lucy Keith initiated a multiyear manatee status and distribution project in Gabon. Resulting data and analyses will provide much needed information on status and a basis for further conservation action. Data collected for this project will not only improve our understanding of manatees within Gabon, but will contribute to a wider regional initiative as well.

This is a collaborative project between Wildlife Trust (WT) and the Cetacean Conservation and Research Program (CCRP) – a joint programme of the American Museum of Natural history and the Wildlife Conservation Society. Wildlife Trust has a strong background in international manatee research and conservation, including work on the West African Manatee. Africa’s Eden sponsored Lucy Keith’s activities in Loango National Park, Gabon.

Max Planck Institute

In 2005, the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in collaboration with Société de Conservation et Développement, initiated a project for habituating wild lowland gorillas and chimpanzees within Loango National Park for the joint purposes of ecotourism and research.

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Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project

Come learn about western lowland gorillas, discover what the bush meat trade is and learn more about conservation through responsible tourism.

Other conservation projects

In addition to the conservation activities together with our partners: Max Planck Institute and the Fernan-Vaz Gorilla Project, Africa’s Eden also supports individuals researchers, mostly in terms of on-the-ground logistical support and accommodation. Below a few examples of supported research by Africa’s Eden.

Destinations

Have you ever dreamed of a place completely lost in time where you can see with vivid clarity how it all once was? A place of abundant wildlife, where dense jungle, savannahs, wetlands and lagoons all meet the sparkling ocean?