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Protecting elephants and large primates in Africa

Protecting elephants and large primates in Africa
Project in nature
$20 000 and more

From Granby to Campo Ma'an, Cameroon: the story of a major conservation project

With a growing determination to act beyond its borders, the Zoo de Granby initiated, in 2015, an ambitious conservation project with the Campo Ma'an National Park, in southern Cameroon, in collaboration with the Foundation for the Environment and Development in Cameroon (FEDEC), the Ministry of Forests and Fauna, Concordia University, African Wildlife Foundation (AWF Cameroon) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Cameroon).

In defense of gorillas and elephants

The project's five objectives

Five objectives were identified in order to carry out this elephant and gorilla conservation initiative while supporting the protection of the territory through the involvement of the local communities. The park is home to some 350 African forest elephants and 700 western lowland gorillas.

Providing eco guards with equipment for the fight against poaching

In 2023 alone, 17 people were arrested for poaching, 1,444 kg of game were seized and 107 illegal camps were destroyed.

Facilitating ecological monitoring of gorillas

The gorillas in the park are at risk due to the pressure put on them by human activities. They're threatened by poaching, loss of habitat on the periphery of the park, and by human-transmitted diseases.

Understanding and proposing solutions to elephant/human conflicts

Many villages suffer crop and fruit plantation damage. Furthermore, communities are exposed to security risks when an elephant passes through a village. The resulting conflict situations are often harmful to both animals and people.

Collaborate with the park's educational mission and with the neighbouring communities

In a context where the park wants to develop its ecotourism potential, it's important to attract the attention of tourists and offer them safe and stimulating activities, while raising their awareness about nature conservation.

Supporting local development initiatives

The objective is to encourage the work of artisans, beekeepers (honey), and producers of non-timber forest products, for example, through the construction of tourist booths for the local market, or the purchase of souvenirs for exporting to zoos.

The impact

Six missions to Cameroon took place between 2015 and 2023 to clarify these objectives, meet government players, create partnerships, develop projects, initiate actions and support scientific research projects.

Three graduate projects with Concordia University have been launched, including a master's degree and two doctorates. These projects include the study of elephant population dynamics and the recommendation of solutions for a more harmonious coexistence between pachyderms and communities, as well as the habituation and ecology of the lowland gorilla with a view to conservation and the development of ecotourism in Campo Ma'an National Park.

The numbers

  • Nearly $375,000 has been invested in this project, in addition to the time spent on mission in the country by 3 Zoo de Granby employees since 2015.
  • Financing of a research laboratory on wildlife diseases (zoonoses), a tropical biology research center, a solar energy system, a bridge, as well as the purchase of two motorcycles and various equipment for ecological monitoring and anti-poaching patrols (camera, GPS, satellite communication system...).
  • The initiation of a community beekeeping project with the installation of over 70 beehives to promote alternative sources of income was most rewarding.

Our vision for the future

The protection of the 350 forest elephants and 700 western lowland gorillas living in Campo Ma'an National Park remains a priority for Zoo de Granby and its partners. Other species such as chimpanzees, mandrill monkeys, buffalo, leopards and the great pangolin are also of vital importance in protecting the park's biodiversity.

The recent creation of a marine protected area close to the park will also extend conservation actions to protected marine species, in particular the various species of sea turtle that come to lay their eggs on the coast and are threatened by fishing activities and poaching. The Zoo will be working on these projects from 2024, in collaboration with local organizations and the Cameroon government.

Project manager

Patrick Paré 

Directeur, conservation et recherche

450 372 9113 poste 2174

Did you know...

The communities living around the park are subjected to the ransacking of their plantations by the big pachyderms. To counter this problem, and also to secure the indigenous populations of Bagyeli pygmies, the Zoo de Granby is following up on an idea put forward by Disney and Oxford University who invented a unique bee fence concept. Elephants are not particularly fond of these stinging insects... so, by installing beehives around the plantations, the crops are protected and the bees provide the local population with honey!


Campo-Ma'an National Park covers 264,000 hectares (more than 5 times the size of the island of Montréal) and is surrounded by dozens of villages and a population of 100,000. The park is listed as one of the 33 priority zones of the Central African Protected Areas Network. The park is located near the port city of Kribi.

The park has a wide variety of habitats and is home to several dozen endangered species. In addition to gorillas and elephants, there are 700 chimpanzees, some 300 bird species and 122 reptile species. It's also the only protected area where the mandrill monkey is present in Cameroon.

Help us protect them!

Zoo de Granby is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation, education and well-being of animals. By contributing to its mission, you're supporting projects to preserve the animal world and their habitats in Quebec and around the globe.

Thanks to our partners