Our community-based conservation efforts work towards providing education and training opportunities for Sierra Leoneans, lowered instances of bushmeat hunting, and improved eco-tourism opportunities for visitors.
Our big achievement in 2019 was the Outamba Kilimi National Park Education Centre and Community Library opened in partnership with the National Areas Protected Authority of Sierra Leone funded by the British Ecological Society.
The Pan Verus Project aims to research agriculture-based opportunities for the people living in and around the research area. By involving the people who are currently utilizing the Outamba Kilimi National Park for food, medicine, and timber, PVP hopes to understand how the demand on the park’s resources can be alleviated while not leaving the people without necessities.
Many people use the Outamba Kilimi National Park to gather food, and usually the animals hunted there are the people’s only access to protein. Additionally, the farming methods used currently take a large toll on the local environment and are prone to failure due to uncontrolled burning, drought, and crop destruction by both domestic and wild animals. We are researching a solution that is both long term, sustainable, and will have the largest benefit to the families who need it the most, rather than on a few higher ranking individuals.
Currently, the Outamba Kilimi National Park is set up for tourism under the National Protected Areas Authority of Sierra Leone. There are six traditional style accommodations and food can be brought with you, or meals will be prepared for you on site. Getting to the park can be a little tricky, but that doesn’t mean it is not worth the journey!
By helping to spread the word about the Outamba Kilimi National Park and encourage sustainable tourism practices, PVP hopes that the more money that tourism can bring to the area, the more people will begin to view the native wildlife as beneficial to their lives.
Through talks and lectures, both formal and informal, PVP hopes that by spreading the word about the conservation crises in Sierra Leone, awareness can lead to positive change.
Many people in Sierra Leone have never heard of the Outamba Kilimi National Park. The Pan Verus Project has partnered with Sierra Leonean primary schools and universities to bring Sierra Leonean students to the park to learn about their country’s wildlife and natural resources.
If you are interested in having a representative of the Pan Verus Project come to speak at your school, university, or zoo, please do not hesitate to contact us.
With the help of the Elephant Crisis Fund we are starting a ranger capacity building programme. After working alongside the National Protected Areas Authority for several years, the rangers expressed interest in expanding their ability to conduct their own biodiversity research and monitoring. We are assisting them in honing their skills to ensure that the Outamba Kilimi National Park is not reliant on foreign researchers for basic monitoring of the park. This training will also be offered to local community members and park volunteers interested in engaging with local conservation initiatives.
Training will include computer skills, monitoring of keystone species (elephants, hippos, predators, and primates), GPS use, basic mapping, botanical plot surveys, camera trap study design, species (plant and animal) identification, and sensitisation training (for local conservation outreach and to improve tourist experience at OKNP). The aim of this is to increase patrolling efficiency and consistency, while bringing Sierra Leoneans to the forefront of conservation in their own country.