The Conservation Department
The Jane Goodall Spain Institute arrived in Senegal in 2007 with the intention of conducting a survey, which showed the need to intervene in order to help to protect the chimpanzee subspecies Pan troglodytes verus from extinction. JGI presented a proposal to USAID and the Fundación Biodiversidad to collaborate on a project that would include research, conservation, education and wealth creation through ecotourism and valorization of natural resources. The program included creating a reserve that would focus on conserving the chimpanzee population, and which could serve as an example for future conservation efforts of the species. Dindefelo was considered the most appropriate place to do so. The President of the Rural Community of Dindefelo, Mr. Kikala Diallo (who is now the mayor of the Community of Dindefelo), chose a development model that would protect the area’s nature and led the participatory process for the approval of the Dindéfélo Community Nature Reserve (RNCD), which occurred in January 2010.
Shortly after, characterization studies were launched and the first RNCD Management Plan came to light in 2012. That same year, thanks to the funds of FFEM and in later years the Conseil General del Isere, the RNCD Managing Committee was launched. This was the body responsible for implementing the plan, which included conserving chimpanzee populations and landscapes, reducing threats such as fire and uncontrolled logging, implementing long-term reforestation and education, raising awareness, economic valuation of agroforestry resources and improving infrastructures for tourism. Finally, in 2014, the Centre d’Accueil (the RNCD’s Visitor Center) was inaugurated. That same year, Dr. Jane Goodall inaugurated the JGI Dindéfélo Biological Station in Senegal. Up to August 2017, the Conseil General de l’Isere provided financial support to the staff and activities of the RNCD. In the first months of 2018, the JGI is supporting a new stage in the RNCD, with a new Managing Committee and more activities.
The JGI continues to support the RNCD on its initiatives of sustainability and training in space management and species protection. Particularly relevant is the proposal for the creation of the Fouta Jallon Cross-Border Reserve (RTFJ), a protected area that reaches across Senegal to Guinea, an idea that has been on the table since 2011. The project’s first accomplishment was helping to establish a twinning agreement between the neighboring Dindéfélo and Goumbambere Reserves (also promoted by the JGI), and the future Lebekere Reserve, which is located on the other side of the border. The agreement includes institutional, ecological, socio-economic and cultural stipulations for populations on both sides of the border, which will gradually be implemented. For many years, the JGI Conservation team and the RNCD have worked together, with the support from JGIE partners, which includes public and private organizations such as the Universidad de Alicante, Fundación Bioparc, Fundación Zoo de Barcelona, EAZA, AMB, AWF and the City Council of Olesa de Montserrat, among others. The JGI representatives participate in regional and international chimpanzee conservation meetings, such as the Conservation Action Plan meeting in Guinea and the West Africa Conservation Action Plan (WACAP) workshop in Liberia in 2017.
Video on the different Departments of the JGI in Senegal and Guinea:
Staff specialized in different disciplines offers their technical support to the Management Committee of the NRCD to implement the Management Plan for the Reserve. The JGI team in Senegal has been divided in four departments: Conservation, Tourism, Communication and Socio-Economics.
The Conservation Department is focused on administration and account management training, as well as training people to perform fieldwork and ensure that regulations are followed according to the Plan, and ensure that the long-term action programs are being implemented. This includes training in multiple disciplines, such as accounting, using new technologies, creating firewalls and patrolling.
The Tourism Department aims to increase the ecotourism value of the RNCD by improving the quality of its offer and seeking promotional channels. It is important to remember that responsible ecotourism is a non-extractive socio-economic activity that is compatible with the conservation of nature, provided it is carried out in a controlled manner. The RNCD staff have also received training in birdwatching and materials from JGI’s partner Fondo Emberiza, and another partner of JGI, the Universidad de Huelva (Spain), collaborates in the training of local actors and the development of sustainable tourism in the Reserve.
The Communication Department plays a fundamental role in supporting the dissemination of the progress of the work of the Committee, and in generating the contents and channels for it, in addition to its other ongoing tasks to raise awareness for JGI’s program in Senegal. The RNCD website and Facebook have been created and maintained by the JGI Communication Department.
Finally, the Socio-Economics Department is interested in the in-depth knowledge of the local population including socio-economic information and access to basic resources. The department is also responsible for assessing the impact the Reserve activities have on the local population.