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Biological and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation in Cameroon


Mundemba, Cameroon

Program Description

The program will take place in the English-speaking South West and North West Regions 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 s 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. In NW Region, we will spend most of our time around the city of Bamenda, in the Cameroon highlands. This area contains high elevation forest, grassland, and savanna. Many mammal and bird species are unique to this area. The main threats to biodiversity include habitat loss and overhunting. 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 – we will study how conservation biologists measure and assess the plants and animals of tropical lowland and montane forests and savannas and use that information to inform conservation strategies 2. Social and cultural aspects of biodiversity conservation – we will observe and participate in and compare daily activities of farmers/hunters living in villages located in a lowland forest environment and pastoralists living in a montane environment. We will aim to understand how the activities of humans in these two areas threaten wildlife populations 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. Understanding sociocultural differences between farmers in the lowland rainforest area and pastoralists in a rare montane forest habitat. 5. 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 6. Observing and participating in Cameroonian village life 7. Understanding similarities and differences between Cameroonian and American culture and worldviews

Location Description

This 3-4-week long program will be conducted entirely in Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon, both of which are English-speaking areas. Much of our time will be spent in or around Korup National Park (KNP). Students will spend approximately 10 days in the Korup forest learning to survey plants and animals and other methods used to assess biodiversity. Approximately 3-5 days will be spent in the town of Mundemba and nearby villages. In the NW Region, students will spend time in the towns of Bamenda and Ndu, as well has visit a Fulani (pastoralist) compound. Students will also travel to the coastal city of Limbe in SW region. The program takes place at the start of the rainy season, so rain will be common.


Joshua Linder | | Sociology and Anthropology


Accommodation will be provided for through hotels and host families, with all meals covered by the program fee.

Additional Items to Consider

Must be physically fit, enjoy the outdoors, camping, and hiking, and be able to tolerate living in primitive conditions.

Required:- Cameroon visa- Immunizations - yellow fever, typhoid- Medications - anti-malarials

All students are welcome to apply. This course will be particularly interesting for students studying Anthropology, Sociology, Biology, Geography, and Environmental Science

Application Process

For this program, students are required to submit the following material(s):

  • Attend an interview with the program director prior to the application deadline: Joshua Linder | | Sociology and Anthropology 

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.9.

For more detailed instructions and to download the application, please click on the following link to the Applications and Forms section for JMU Short-Term Programs.

Official transcript required for first-semester transfer students and non-JMU students.

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


ANTH 391: Study Abroad: Biological and Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conservation in Cameroon (6 credits)