Community-based conservation efforts work towards providing education and work opportunities for Sierra Leoneans, lowered instances of bushmeat hunting, and tourism opportunities for visitors.
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 sometimes the animals hunted there are the people’s only access to protein. Since live-stock based farming was all but destroyed during the civil war, finding ways to rebuild this way of life could mean a decreased need for hunting.
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. This includes educating people about the health risks associated with eating bushmeat and zoonotic diseases, like Ebola.
Many people in Sierra Leone have never heard of the Outamba Kilimi National Park. The Pan Verus Project hopes in the future 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.
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.