David Macdonald reports on a remarkable story of teamwork, and illustrates how modern conservation work goes far beyond biology
At WildCRU we are fond of saying that, for modern conservation, biology is necessary but not sufficient – conservation goes beyond the natural sciences, to the social sciences, through economics, development, governance and the law all the way from evidence to judgment and thus politics. An important element is education, and we have been busy in schoolrooms and communities around the world, and we have been particularly proud of WildCRU researcher, Tom Moorhouse’s successes as a children’s author. Now, Tom has joined a team of eleven children’s authors, an artist and a publisher to help create a very special book.
One thing that drew our attention to the need and the opportunity was that I, together with my colleague Dr Christos Astaras, have a Darwin Initiative grant for exploring the use of automated microphone “listening posts” that record the noises, such as gunshots, made by poachers in the forest. This technology is leading to potentially great innovations in the struggle against poaching, but the time Christos has spent in Korup forest in Cameroon – where we work on this project – led him to hear the tales told by local chiefs and elders. They were enchanting, and so soon Tom was at work writing them up for photocopied distribution to children in the region. This is just the sort of lateral thinking and outreach that takes WildCRU to spheres beyond the normal work of a research unit, and with characteristic exuberance Tom soon thought we could do more.
So, Tom approached some of his fellow authors, an illustrator and a publisher who agreed to get together and publish the stories – with WildCRU’s help. The result is a crowdfunding campaign to publish and distribute 2,000 copies of the book to children in the Korup region of Cameroon – children who could otherwise lose their stories forever. Please join our campaign by taking a copy of the book, here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/cameroon-stories/ and by spreading the word as far as you can!