Synopsis of our project:
Equatorial Guinea, the only predominately Spanish-speaking country in Africa, is nestled in the Gulf of Guinea at the edge of the lowland Congolian forests. This small yet incredibly biodiverse country is one of the only places you can still see chimpanzees, gorillas, and elephants roaming ancient jungles. Though scientists know quite a bit about the mammals dwelling in this part of Central Africa, the country's birds are still particularly poorly known. Some believe the current country bird list may only represent half the species that actually occur in the country.
The population of Equatorial Guinea has tripled since 1980, and the economic boom following the discovery of oil in the region has accelerated the development of urban areas in the mainland. The country is being crisscrossed with paved highways as fast as they can lay the asphalt. If scientists don't act quickly to understand the country's wildlife, species could go extinct before even being discovered.
We are planning to fill in the gaps of knowledge regarding the birds of this country. We already took a 10-day pilot trip to Equatorial Guinea in November 2013, which resulted in the discovery of a new species for the country (Lesser Falcon), several scientific publications, and the establishment of partnerships with Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program, The University of Equatorial Guinea, the US Ambassador in Equatorial Guinea, and the Equatoguinean government. We are now laying the framework for an expedition to fully realize what birds are lurking in these primeval forests. The main product from this campaign will be the scientific publications that describe our advances in ornithology in Equatorial Guinea: a published species list, the first step in establishing a prescident for ornithology, will be the first of many scientific publications from this expedition. We will also produce a short documentary film on on our trip.
Another important component of our project is outreach and education. Only by encouraging Equatoguineans to become stewards for their own wildlife can we truly foster longterm protection of biodiversity. We will work with local students of the The University of Equatorial Guinea to teach them ornithological techniques. We will also continue to work with local young people to promote the value of biodiversity.
Please help us invest in expanding and continuing ecological conservation in Equatorial Guinea at this critical point in the country's history.
Risks and challenges
No project in sub-saharan Africa is without its challenges, and work in Equatorial Guinea is no exception. Thankfully, we took a pilot trip to Equatorial Guinea in November 2014, which helped us build on-the-ground partners in the country that will guide us through the process. For starters, we've partnered with Equatorial Guinea's National Institute for Forestry Development and Protected Area Management (INDEFOR-AP). They'll supply us with an official government vehicle, a driver, and a guide who will help us navigate the process of local permission to do field work. We've also enlisted the help of US Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea Mark Asquino, who we met during our pilot trip. Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program and their partners at University of Equatorial Guinea will also be be helping us with logistics and lodging during the process. Interestingly enough, due to rapid development in the country, practically all of the country has good cell phone coverage, so if we run into trouble in the field, help will be a quick phone call away!
And we know what you're thinking - what about the ebola virus? Equatorial Guinea is in Central Africa, not West Africa! The closest country to Equatorial Guinea to report ebola is Nigeria, which is more than 1000km away. There is very, very little risk in Equatorial Guinea, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared the ebola outbreak entirely contained in Nigeria (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/30/ebola-over-in-nigeria/16473339/).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)