Mammal distribution and trends in the threatened Ebo 'intact forest landscape', Cameroon



Whytock RC, Abwe EE, Mfossa DM, Ketchen ME, Abwe AE, Nguimdo VRV, Maisels F, Strindberg S & Morgan BJ (2021) Mammal distribution and trends in the threatened Ebo 'intact forest landscape', Cameroon. Global Ecology and Conservation, 31, Art. No.: e01833.

Intact forest landscapes (IFLs) are globally important for maintaining functional ecosystems. Ebo forest (~1400 km2) in Cameroon is one of the largest remaining IFLs in the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forest ecoregion and harbours several IUCN Red-Listed threatened mammal species. We evaluated the status, trends, and distribution of mammals ≥ 0.5 kg in the Ebo forest over 12 years using guided recce and camera trap monitoring surveys, as well as local knowledge to inform future land use and conservation planning. Recce monitoring of seven taxa (blue duiker Philantomba monticola, chimpanzee Pan troglodytes, forest elephant Loxodonta cyclotis, putty-nosed monkey Cercopithecus nictitans, medium sized duikers Cephalophus spp., and red river hog Potamochoerus porcus) showed that some are stable or increasing. Indeed, our recent camera trap data confirmed breeding Gorilla gorilla (western gorilla) and elephant. Distribution models for chimpanzees and elephants showed that their populations are concentrated in the centre of the forest, away from human pressure. Some other species, however, including red colobus Piliocolobus preussi, leopard Panthera pardus, African golden cat Caracal aurata, and forest buffalo Syncerus caffer nanus are either close to extirpation or have been extirpated within living memory. We conclude that the Ebo intact forest landscape retains an important mammal community, despite no formal legal protection. Ebo’s future is uncertain, with two commercial logging concessions announced by Cameroon in 2020 and later suspended in response to national and international pressure. It is crucial to maintain Ebo’s integrity to maintain the biodiversity and function of this important part of the Cross-Sanaga-Bioko coastal forest ecoregion.

Forest elephant; chimpanzee; monitoring; camera trapping; recce surveys; Central Africa

Global Ecology and Conservation: Volume 31

FundersU.S Fish and Wildlife Service
Publication date30/11/2021
Publication date online20/09/2021
Date accepted by journal17/09/2021
PublisherElsevier BV

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Professor Fiona Maisels

Professor Fiona Maisels

Honorary Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences