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Yaoundé, 23 July 2020 – Greenpeace Africa and local communities denounce a decision by the Government of Cameroon to open up 68,385 hectares of pristine rainforest to logging. The fate of a 65,007 ha zone of Ebo, also threatened with logging, remains unclear and must also be spared from chainsaws.

The 14 July decree to log a zone about half the size of London blatantly ignores requests by local communities and international NGOs to honor a 2006 government decision to declare the area a national park.[1] The move also flouts Cameroon’s international commitments, and makes a mockery of its endorsement on 20 July for the international Agreement on Conservation of Gorillas and their Habitats.

“Ebo forest is home to critically endangered primates whose death sentence may have been signed by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute with the approval of the President’s office,” says Sylvie Djacbou, forest campaigner at Greenpeace Africa. “Greenpeace asks once again to cancel plans for industrial logging in Ebo forest and to designate it as a self-managed park instead,” added Djacbou.

“The majority of Banen people say no to this grave injustice,” says Banen Chief Victor Yetina of the association Munen Retour aux Sources. “Ebo forest represents above all the identity of the Banen people and the association of Banen people will use all legal means to make the government reverse its decision,” Chief Yetina added.

Information obtained by Greenpeace Africa last month suggests that SEXTRANSBOIS, which prospected Ebo last month, may be the beneficiary of the new concession. The firm appears to be controlled by the same entrepreneurs associated with a new oil palm concession in the South Region, CAMVERT. 

“The Cameroon government again chooses short-term financial gains for selected elites over the long-term interests of local communities and the protection of the environment,” continues Djacbou. “This provocation runs roughshod over the rights of 40 communities, ruins a biodiversity hotspot [2] and deepens the climate crisis.”[3]

ENDS

Notes: 

[1] See letters by MINFOF – Cameroon’s Ministry of Forests and Wildlife

[2] Ebo is home to  an isolated population of western gorillas and important populations of Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzees, drills, forest elephants, grey parrots and other IUCN Red List Endangered and Critically Endangered species, and 12 tree species recently described as new to science. See: Whytock RC, Morgan BJ. 2010. The Avifauna of the Ebo forest, Cameroon. Malimbus, 32(1), 22-32, as well as Morgan BJ, Adeleke A, Bassey et al. 2011. Regional Action Plan for the Conservation of the NigeriaCameroon chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes ellioti) and IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group and Zoological Society of San Diego; 

[3]  The forest contains an estimated 35 million tonnes of carbon. See: Global Forest Watch (2020) http://bit.ly/2Q1oTfF

Photos and videos from Ebo forest (trap camera):

Available here, courtesy of San-Diego Global Zoo

Contact for interviews and more information:

  • Chief Victor Yetina, Munen Retour aux Sources, +237-698120222, [email protected]
  • Tal Harris, Greenpeace Africa International Communications Coordinator, +221-774643195, [email protected]

Greenpeace Africa newsdesk: [email protected]