We create alternative livelihoods to hunting and animal trading by employing the local community to provide browse and crop by-products to our primates. Currently, we provide employment to around 100 community members, growing year on year.
Wild Plants: Aframomum
In short, Aframomum sp. (Zingiberaceae) is a wild plant that occurs naturally in lowland rain forests and mountain areas. We work with former hunters to harvest this plant from the forest, which in turn provides employment and income to them and their families.
Aframomum grows naturally in secondary forests and does not need to be planted. During harvesting, the plants are cut in a way that allows them to grow again. Then in a few months, the plant is mature once again. For this project, aframomum is harvested three times a week in Batoke (Isongo). And this is in the buffer zone of Mount Cameroon National Park.
Significantly, this leaf has anti-parasitical, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Therefore, it helps to maintain gastrointestinal balance. Furthermore, primates love to eat this wild plant! And at the LWC, we provide all our primates including the gorillas, drills, mandrills, guenons and baboons with aframomum every day!
We predominantly work with local women to harvest the by-products (leaves and stems) of existing crops for the primates in rehabilitation. For example this includes potato, cassava and papaya leaves. Because the leaves are harvested from existing crop fields and have no economic value, the women are able to earn more money without creating extra work. Furthermore, this also prevents further encroachment of farmland into the surrounding forests. Therefore, this is a truly green and sustainable community project.
Ultimately, the leaves provide essential nutrition and mimics natural feeding patterns for primates.