Biological and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation in Cameroon
The summer program in Cameroon offers unique opportunities to learn about the biological, social, and cultural dimensions of tropical forest conservation through direct interaction and complete immersion. The program focuses on two broad themes, each supported via site visits, informal conversations with Cameroonian scientists and local community members, and your readings:
1. Biological aspects of conservation science – you will learn methods that conservation practitioners use to assess and monitor the plants and animals of tropical forests and the importance of understanding evolutionary ecology in developing conservation strategies.
2. Social and cultural aspects of biodiversity conservation – through informal discussions with Cameroonians and participant observations of Cameroonian life, you will learn how local social, economic, and cultural realities shape human-environment interactions and influence the development of conservation strategies.
Learning Objectives include:
1. Understanding the human threats to tropical forests and wildlife in west and central Africa
2. Understanding the role local and international conservation organizations play in biodiversity conservation in Cameroon
3. Understanding how local Cameroonians living near to a national park view the forest, its wildlife, and conservation activities
4. Learning commonly used data collection and analytical techniques to survey and assess tropical forest plants and animals and understanding how these techniques inform conservation strategies
5. Observing and participating in Cameroonian village life
6. Understanding similarities and differences between Cameroonian and American culture and worldviews
The program will take place in the English-speaking South West Region of Cameroon. In SW Region, most of our time will be spent in and around Korup National Park. Korup is located in a global biodiversity hotspot and is renowned for its exceptionally high number of plant and animal species, many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. Korup supports 14 different primate species, including some of Africa’s most endangered primates, such as the red colobus monkey and the chimpanzee. Habitat loss and, especially, hunting for bushmeat (the meat of wild animals) are the primary threats to primates and other mammals in the area. The people of the Korup area are ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse. Most livelihoods are based around hunting and slash-and-burn farming of food and cash crops.
DirectorJoshua Linder | firstname.lastname@example.org | Sociology and Anthropology
Hotels and rental apartments. Students will have occasional access to the internet through either wireless connection or through an internet cafe. Students will often be on a mobile phone network.
All meals will be provided.
Additional Items to Consider
This is one of JMU’s most challenging study abroad programs. Students are far from home, in a physical and social environment that is completely different to what they are normally accustomed. While in the very hot and humid rainforest, you will be hiking along trails (and off-trail) most days. In local villages you will be interacting with farmers, hunters, businessmen and women, and heads of households. Throughout the trip you are required to talk with Cameroonians – that is the primary way of learning on this program. There will be times when you don’t feel well – you’ll be tired, have a bad stomach, etc. Mosquitos in Cameroon carry malaria and you will be required to take prophylaxis to reduce your chances of contracting malaria. You will eat food that you have never tried before. And, ultimately, you will learn about yourself.
Immunizations: typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A & B, meningitis
Prophylaxis: anti-malaria pillsAn open mind and a willingness to be uncomfortable
Students must be physically fit and relatively healthy.
Any major is welcome to apply.
Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 3.0
Application ProcessThis list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:
- Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
- Short essay
- Interview with Program Director
- Official transcript required for non-JMU and first semester transfer students.
All dates are tentative and subject to change
CoursesANTH 391: Study Abroad: Biological and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation in Cameroon (6 credits)
Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.