Conservation of Drill Populations in Bakossiland, Cameroon: Historical Trends and Current Status
Very little information is available on the current status of drill populations in Cameroon. We report on drill group sizes and status in Bakossiland, a mountainous area spanning 2000 km2 in the Littoral and South West Provinces of southwestern Cameroon. Between 1970 and 2002 direct visual counts of drill groups (n = 105) yielded group size estimates ranging from 5 to 400 (mean ± S.E.M.; 93.1 ± 8.4). We encountered solitary adult male drills on 8 occasions. Groups were at all elevations (150–2000 m) in 5 habitat types: lowland, premontane, submontane and montane forests and montane savannah at 2000 m). Group sizes did not vary with respect to elevation, habitat type or season (wet and dry mo). However, over the past decade drills have been virtually hunted out of the Mwenzekong Mountains (Banyang Mbo Wildlife Sanctuary), and they are greatly reduced in the southern Bakossi forests of Mwendolengo, Edib Hills and Mungo River. The species became extinct in the Loum Forest Reserve in the late 1970s, and until recently was thought to have become extinct on Mount Mwanenguba. Since 1994 on Mount Kupe, the drill population has begun to recover, largely due to protection afforded by the Bakossi traditional chiefs. Traditional powers and values are still influential in the region. A new national park—Bakossi Mountains National Park— and associated Protected Areas are currently under gazettment. We discuss the effectiveness of conservation strategies in relation to the survival of drills in the area.
Keywordsdrill Mandrillus leucophaeus Cameroon group size conservation
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