Isaac Blaise DJOKO

Concordia University
Ph.D. candidate

Supervisor: Robert Weladji
Start: 2017-09-05
End: 2022-08-31


Interactions People-Protected Areas: The case of Campo-Ma’an National Park, Southern Cameroon
The aim of this research is to study human-elephant interactions for an integrated management of the landscape that maintains biodiversity while providing better coexisting conditions to human and forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in the Campo-Ma’an Technical Operational Unit. By combining social surveys and field investigations in three subdivisions, I first assessed the extent of wildlife damage to crops and identified the impact of human activities on wildlife. I found that almost all farmers suffered crop damages with considerable crops and economic losses attributed to forest elephants. Forest elephants therefore play a key role in people’s livelihood in the Campo-Ma’an landscape. Then, using camera traps and field investigations, I studied how forest elephants utilize the various land use types (National Park and Forest Management Unit both with various restrictions to human activities, and Community Land where some human activities are allowed) of this human dominated landscape. I found that elephants are attracted to areas with high species richness and increased fruits availability, both patchily distributed over the various land use types. However, forest elephants occurred mostly in community land dominated by human activities. Therefore, given the ongoing increase in human population in this landscape, the threats to forest elephant are expected to increase if no serious actions are taken by wildlife managers and administration. Furthermore, given their elusive nature, I investigated whether we could rely on local ecological knowledge, as compared to field investigation, to assess the diet composition and feeding habits of forest elephants. I showed that local ecological knowledge can be used to assess forest elephants’ most common and important food items. Indeed, the iv dietary profiles resulting from these approaches were concordant for most plant species. Finally, with the hope that beehive fences can be used to repel elephants from getting into farmlands, I studied the behaviour of local bees (Apis mellifera adansonii) in response to physical disturbance. I found a temporal variability in the aggressiveness of bee colonies, with their effect being minimal at night, suggesting beehive fences can only be used in combination with other mitigation measures in this area. Overall, further investigations are needed to suggest reliable measures for peaceful coexistence between forest elephants and humans in this landscape.