Strict enforcement of community laws by community rangers

Published: 20 January 2017
Last edited: 01 April 2019
A boundary has been demarcated around a central core area of some 100km2 within which there is no hunting or collection of forest produce allowed. A team of 14 community rangers were recruited by WCS from the nine communities to enforce community rules and regulations established by CAMM. These community rangers are employed by WCS and supervised by a resident WCS project manager. Daily patrols have reduced levels of hunting dramatically, and hunting is now much lower in the Mbe Mountains than in surrounding government-managed protected areas. Ranger patrols collect data using handheld devices that are automatically downloaded at the end of each patrol. Ranger morale and pride was developed and encouraged through training and provision of field equipment including uniforms.

Classifications

Category
Co-management building
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Enforcement and prosecution
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Review phase

Enabling factors

Long-term support from an NGO was critical for success. Recruiting community rangers and project manager directly from the communities improved the project’s level of acceptance by local people in the early stages. Use of CyberTracker and SMART for law enforcement monitoring has enabled WCS to demonstrate success and generate continued funding. The Mbe Mountains is a relatively small area that is easily policed. Use of Cross River gorilla as a flagship species for the area and for fundraisin

Lessons learned

With support of local communities, strict law enforcement was accepted and worked to reduce hunting. The use of ex-hunters as rangers is effective but they require close supervision and regular monitoring if they are meant to give up hunting permanently. Use of CyberTracker and SMART for monitoring law enforcement and gorilla distribution improved transparency and accountability of the project and was critical for success. The penalties imposed by CAMM are not always enforced and they are not considered an effective deterrent. Community sanctions are perhaps more effective. Strict law enforcement in the Mbe Mountains may have merely displaced hunting to neighboring areas such as Cross River National Park. Monthly and quarterly reports produced by WCS and shared with CAMM and nine communities were important in building trust.