It’s the beginning of a great, big, new, adventure and where better to write about it than here, the place I started my journey. Well, I didn’t quite literally begin life on this website, but Endangered Living has been there for me as an outlet, a place to share, and a community of support over the last several years. So it’s fitting that I get to share with you my latest endeavor: The Pan Verus Project
The Pan Verus Project is my baby. It’s a conservation oriented project promoting new conservation methods through cultural understanding. What started as an idea, that grew into a PhD project, and has snowballed like mad since, has turned into this. This project as a place where, hopefully soon, researchers will come together to bring new ideas together with the local communities in and around the Outamba Kilimi National Park and create solutions for conservation issues facing this part of the world.
This project has a long way to go, but here it is, brand shiny new (and looking for donations). I’ll still be posting here, on EL, but PVP will be getting some attention too as well as posts written by other researchers, so feel free to go follow that website as well.
Research for the project begins in February and topics being studied by researchers 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
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, the Pan Verus Project hopes that food-insecurity and the necessity to hunt to make a living will be off-set.
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
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.
Currently the Outamba Kilimi National Park is set up for tourism (yes, even you can visit!), 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.
So thats a bit about the project! Please share to help us get off the ground, as the early days are so important, and most of all thank you to the EL community for helping make this a reality.