Pan Verus Project Aims
While the Pan Verus Project is in it’s infancy, it’s major goal is research based. Until the threats to the park can be identified, species diversity is documented, and root causes that have led to the high demand on the park’s resources are understood, it would be irresponsible to start any active projects. As the Outamba Kilimi area has been so understudied in the past it is difficult to know what level of community involvement will be reasonable to expect and exactly what those communities will need to grow and flourish alongside the national park.
Current research topics being studied by researchers with the Pan Verus Project include:
- Post-Ebola wildlife conservation
- Sustainable tourism
- Wildlife demand relating to hunting, trade, and medicine
- Wildlife species survey within the Outamba section of the park
Community Based Alternative Livelihoods
Once the needs of the community can be identified the Pan Verus Project will begin to introduce sustainable agriculture opportunities. By creating opportunities for local people to engage in sustainable agriculture and alternative livelihoods, the Pan Verus Project hope that food-insecurity and the necessity to hunt to make a living will be off-set.
Current sustainable agriculture options being investigated:
- Small live-stock farming to offer alternative protein sources
- Fruit tree and pineapple cultivation outside park boundaries
- Medicinal plant gardens being created outside park boundaries
Current alternative livelihood schemes being investigated:
- Skills/jobs training
- Tourism partnerships
Currently the Outamba Kilimi National Park is set up for tourism, however there are few well established trails, and no wildlife viewing platforms remain from Teleki’s days. Educational opportunities for visitors are extremely limited and benefits to the local community are essentially nonexistent. If tourism wants to have a chance of positively impacting the on-going conservation effort, it needs to be improved. Even among Sierra Leoneans the park is not widely known, especially in comparison to the Gola National Forest Reserve in the far south of the country.
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, 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 high schools and 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.
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.