In 1996, I conducted predissertation fieldwork in Cameroun.

During a two months, I visited three major park areas: Lac Lobeke, Dja and Campo. Within the boundaries of these National Parks, I worked with parrot poachers from Yaounde, elephant hunters and poachers from Africa, Europe and the United States, Baka pygmies, and those governmental and nongovernmental organizations waging a virtual war in the name of environmental conservation.

"Conservation Wars: Establishing National Parks in Cameroun"


Gorillas are regular victims of a national park system that conserves tropically forested areas by prohibiting long term area residents forest accesst. One of the results is rampant poaching, as bush meat remains the primary meat consumed throughout rural and urban areas of southern Cameroun.


On one of the three days of travel from Lac Lobeke, in the southeastern corner, to Cameroun's capital of Yaounde, I hitched a ride on a logging truck.


I rode in back between the cab and the logs.  Just me and the bush meat (monkeys, antelope) the truck driver was "smuggling" back to Yaounde, with the help of local goverment officials. 


Roger Fotso, a prominent African ornithologist and current Country Director for Wildlife Conservation Society, graciously introduced me to the Lac Lobeke area in his quest to educate parrot poachers, while blood typing Camerounian birds. Logging truck after logging truck passed us each day on their hungry marches into and away from the diminishing forest. Each time Roger would say under his breath, "C'etait la foret". That was the forest.

Return to Left Brain