|Published online: September 5, 2016||$US5.00|
Protected areas are designated for biodiversity protection and wildlife management and so generate biodiversity benefits and ecosystem services because they stand as important stocks of natural, cultural, and social capital. Their biodiversity richness is diverse and includes ecological, economic, social, and cultural benefits. Besides providing significant monetary and non-monetary values, they also represent a major source of material and non-material wealth. More so, they support the livelihood and well-being of many—especially in tropical area—and create income generation and employment opportunities. The goal of this study was to critically examine protected areas’ contribution to wildlife conservation and ecotourism by means of a case study approach of the Limbe Wildlife Centre, a zoo/sanctuary/aquarium/fauna park of high repute. This was accomplished through reconnaissance surveys, direct interviews with relevant authorities and tourists, the administration of 109 questionnaires amongst the inhabitants, and the consultation of published works and cartographic sources. Both endangered and non-endangered primates (2 percent) and non-primates (98 percent) are wildlife species conserved in the zoo. The greatest constraint to wildlife conservation in the area is financial (38 percent), followed by the problem of community participation (18 percent). Ecotourism in the reserve is a sustainable form of wildlife viewing via guided tours based on visitor-wildlife encounters and more than 90 percent of visitors were nationals as opposed to foreigners. More than 90.8 percent of the inhabitants were not involved in ecotourism and conservation efforts while 78.9 percent of others opined that they fail to support the zoo because it does not contribute to community development. This study proposed measures such as participatory management involving all stakeholders, benefit sharing of conservation and ecotourism revenue, financial support, training and employment of trained personnel, installation of security cameras to monitor the animals, research, change of attitude by the inhabitants toward wildlife conservation, the search for a natural habitat for the animals, and increased entrance fare for visitors, which when implemented will help reconcile the existing problems in the zoo and develop a synergy in protected area, wildlife conservation/management, and ecotourism leading to sustainability and maximizing benefits.
|Keywords:||Protected Areas, Wildlife Conservation, Ecotourism, Limbe Wildlife Centre, Cameroon|
Senior Lecturer, Reseacher, and Consultant, Department of Geography, University of Maroua, Maroua, Far North Region, Cameroon
Postgraduate Student, Faculty of Environmental and Resource Management, Brandenburgische Technische Universität, Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany