In November MAPA volunteers will be working in West Africa, visiting parks and reserves across the region with their GPS units and their cameras.
One of the most time-consuming things on this project has been establishing partnerships with national wildlife authorities. Getting the appointments, exchanging letters of co-operation, and everything else that goes with it, all takes time and money. It’s always worth it in the end because we get so much support from Wardens and Rangers on the ground – but the paperwork and protocol and can be exhausting! One way to fast track the process is to collaborate with a local NGO which has national credibility and the contacts.
So we have been very lucky to be working with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation in Nigeria. They are the most senior conservation NGO in the country and have taken a huge load off our shoulders. When I visited Lagos recently, they undertook to manage all liaison with the Nigeria National Parks Service and to support the project on the ground.
Once again I am reminded by how many people there are on this continent who are cheerfully shouldering the immense responsibility of looking after its wildlife – and still have time to help others!
MAPA will work in Nigeria, with two dedicated vehicles, in November 2010. We look forward to meeting again!