What’s in a name?
The name “Pan Verus” holds two meanings: firstly, it hints to the Latin name of the Western Chimpanzee: Pan troglodytes verus, but it also represents the mission of the project. Translated into English it means “The Whole Truth” which is exactly what the Pan Verus Project stands for: The whole truth of wildlife conservation. We aim to include all aspects of conservation in the work that we do: from wildlife research, and community engagement, to education and training opportunities.
Each national park in Sierra Leone has a special animal that is that park’s symbol. The Pan Verus Project works largely in and around the Outamba Kilimi National Park, whose symbol is the Critically Endangered Western Chimpanzee, so in unity with national park and the rangers working so hard to protect it, we also use the chimpanzee as our symbol, though our conservation efforts include all species who call the park home.
Pan Verus Project Aims
While the Pan Verus Project is still growing we are continuing to collect base-line data about the Outamba Kilimi National Park area. While we have identified many of the root causes of human-wildlife conflict, we are still continuing our research to ensure that we implement a solution that will be sustainable and long-term. In addition to conducting our own research we are also training the national park rangers and volunteers on additional research techniques so that they can lead their own research projects.
Our current research is focused on:
- Ebola communication and perceptions of wildlife
- Wildlife species assemblage survey within the Outamba section of the park
- Investigating the presence of cryptic species inside the park including species range expansions
- Inter-species interactions
We have conducted research across a variety of areas. Some of our past research involves:
If you are interested in working with the Pan Verus Project for your thesis research please send us a message as we have several topics we would love to be more fully explored! Additionally, we are happy to work with researchers on ideas outside of our own, but all research to be affiliated with the project needs to meet our basic criteria. Please note that field research at the height of the raining season is incredibly difficult and not advised (end of July-October).
Community Based Alternative Livelihoods
Once the needs of the community can be identified the Pan Verus Project will begin to explore alternative livelihood opportunities. By creating opportunities for local people to engage in sustainable agriculture and alternative livelihoods, the Pan Verus Project hopes that future food-insecurity and the necessity to hunt to make a living will be off-set.
Current alternative livelihood schemes being investigated:
- Skills/jobs training
- Increasing awareness of government-based tourism
- Alternative and sustainable agriculture
Education opportunities for park staff and local communities are a major factor in the Pan Verus Project’s aims. By creating opportunities for the park staff to become more highly trained by working with researchers, the tourism opportunities in the park will benefit as well.
Many people in Sierra Leone have never heard of the Outamba Kilimi National Park. The Pan Verus Project hopes to partner with universities to bring Sierra Leonean students to the park to learn about their country’s wildlife and natural resources.
The Pan Verus Project also aims for complete transparency when it comes to working with local communities. Talks will regularly be held to let the people who live in and around the park know why exactly the project is there, what their research is about, what they have found, and how environmental conservation can benefit them.
We work with over 25 communities, two primary schools and one Sierra Leonean university to ensure we are engaging people of all ages and education levels about conservation and the environment.
Working with the Pan Verus Project
Are you interested in working with the Pan Verus Project? We always welcome researchers from all backgrounds who are interested uncovering the parks biodiversity and in furthering the aims listed above.
email us if you would like to know more about conducting research in the Outamba Kilimi National Park with the Pan Verus Project.