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Project Update: June 2010

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Project Update: June 2010
The current report highlights the main activities of our project since January 2010. Again, this has been a busy and sometimes challenging period, but one with achievements too. We have continued gathering data, preparing analyses and engaging with the university and authorities in Bioko.

  1. Household interviews

Household surveys have continued in Malabo and villages. We have an excellent rapport with villagers, and authorities, and they have responded extremely well to our interviews and in gathering information for the project. We continue to input and analyse data already collected during the study, and during the reporting period conducted more interviews in Malabo and villages. We have now obtained information on food consumption and activities of a large sample of households, including wealth data. The latter will be used to explain the observed patterns of food consumption, especially in relation to wild meat.

  1. Points of sale data

Daily information of species hunted by an informant family (who owns the largest bushmeat bar in Basilé Fang) has continued. These data will allow us to estimate amounts of bushmeat taken and consumed by a household dedicated to commercial hunting. Additionally, since March 2010, we have been able to gather data on bushmeat sold by the entire village. This village is the main provider of bushmeat to the Malabo market along the eastern side of the Pico Basilé.
Despite us mentioning the impossibility of collecting any information on carcasses sold in Malabo Market, due to the lack of cooperation of the sellers, in February 2010, an UNGE student Ricardo Oyono, working in our project, was able to convince a seller (a friend of his family) to allow us to record meat sold. Ricardo has been able to document species sold, number, sex, size, state, price, origin and hunting method, for a total of 26 days. He will continue as far as he can and complete a larger sample size of days monitored. He has also delivered datasheets to 14 bars in Malabo urban and suburban areas which sell bushmeat to customers. Information on species sold (number, price and place of purchase, state and origin if known) will be obtained from these.

  1. Participation/information

Our relationship with the Faculty of the Environment in the University of Equatorial Guinea has been growing. There is substantial interest by the Faculty to support our studies and engage with us in continuing the work started. A number of lecturers and students have been involved with us in developing a new project to follow on from the work already accomplished. The main aims of this project will be: 1) Capacity building; 2) Research and 3) Setting up of a monitoring scheme on the ground.

The capacity building component is of crucial importance in order to create a legacy that will ensure conservation on the ground beyond the life of this project. We will concentrate in training both staff and students within the current biology courses. The emphasis on teaching trainers is primordial since they will be able to continue training new generations of students involved in the study of biodiversity. We will concentrate on teaching theory and practice - how to gather data on the state of wildlife in the island, and understand what options are available to improve this. We will also develop forums in which recipients of our training will learn to collect, understand and process relevant data. These data will focus on human livelihoods and socioeconomic conditions as well as fauna.
After a period of instruction, all trained personnel will engage in collecting data on hunting and hunting-related issues through a combination of household interviews (food consumption, wealth rank, economic activities) and faunal surveys. We will concentrate in gathering household data along the western and southern part of the Pico Basilé; areas which have not yet being covered by our study. We will also open transects within representative habitats in the Pico Basilé to assess the status of wildlife, especially birds and mammals. For some medium-sized mammals we will undertake mark-recapture studies. All teaching staff and students will participate in the collection, analyses and reporting of results.
Training of techniques will be done in the field and within the university. Sampling theory, data collection and processing will be taught during the first year of the project. The intention is to formalise a study programme that can be taught in the second year of the project, as a formal course within the university. The field study section of the course will allow the collection of data for ongoing monitoring of the state of wildlife and on human dependency on it.
Through these activities the Faculty of Environment will become the component body in the country to guide both instruction and action on biodiversity issues for the island. Given the importance of engaging with the main authorities in the country involved in environmental issues, we have had a meetings and held workshops with:
1) Teaching staff and the Dean of the Faculty of the Environment at the university to flesh out objectives, methods, materials necessary and budgets for the new project.

2) Director General of the Environment and Fishing Ministry, Iltrsm. Santiago Engonga and his counterpart, responsible for the project: “Sustainable forest management in Equatorial Guinea for the conservation of representative ecosystems and globally significant biodiversity”, Ilustrism. Antonio Michá. The aim of these meetings was to understand activities currently run by the Equatoguinean government, and work with them in linking project activities.

3) Director of the Project “Refuerzo de las agrupaciones agrícolas femeninas”, of the Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales y Promoción de la Mujer, Valeriano Elías. As in other meetings, the main aim was to establish links with projects that could offer synergy with ours.
Following these meetings, we have been able to write a proposal that has been submitted to the Ministeries in Equatorial Guinea and submitted to various funding organisation in Spain: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Zoo de Barcelona, Agencia de Cooperación Española as well as to the Ministerio de Educación de Guinea Ecuatorial. We will be notified by the end of the year if we have been successful.

  1. Analysis:

These continue. Data are currently being entered in computers and databases created for statistical analyses.

5. Next steps:
Complete the gathering socio-economic and extraction data.

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