Okay, we’re onto the Round of 16 in our brilliant World Cup for Wildlife! There’s no messing around now – one mistake and you’re out! We want to find out who, among the World Cup teams, can call themselves the World Champions of Wildlife Tourism…that means they must be a wonderful place for tourists to go and visit wildlife, without too many ‘problems’ that might put people off. Enough waffle…on with the game!
Next up: Cameroon v Australia
Check out the highlights and issues around wildlife tourism in each country below (all information taken from www.RIGHT-tourism.org), then read our Match Report at the bottom to find out the score!
Cameroon Wildlife – Highlights
Slightly bigger than the state of California, Cameroon has the second highest concentration of biodiversity in Africa. Its rich wildlife consists of hundreds of different mammals, a thousand varieties of butterflies and over 900 bird species. It has all the major African climates and flora (desert, mountain, coastline, savanna and rainforest). The country has more than 20 protected areas. Its most popular reserve is the Waza National Park, which covers an area of 170,000 hectares. Its mammal population is one of the largest in central West Africa and includes lions, giraffes, elephants, antelopes, as well as many bird varieties. The country is also home to the Dja Faunal Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the largest and most protected rainforest in Africa.
Country Specific Issues
Tourism is limited in Cameroon, potentially because of civil unrest, but visitors can enjoy the outstanding array of wildlife in the National Parks, especially the elephants in Waza. The Mbam and Djerem National Park is said to have the greatest habitat diversity of any protected area in Cameroon with more than 60 mammal species, 400 bird species, 65 reptile species and 30 fish species. However, this protected area is not without its fair share of issues. With 74 villages housing approximately 30,000 people adjacent to the National Park, conflicting interests are inevitable.
Agriculture and farming here is done through the Slash-and-Burn method leading to extensive damage to the local habitat, with exploitation of unsustainable timber forest products and overgrazing by livestock increasing the detrimental effects that are taking place in Cameroon. Commercial hunting and hunting for the bushmeat trade is also having a negative impact on the local fauna, with animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, elephants, buffalo and bongo all susceptible to this illegal industry. Read more about bushmeat here.
Australia Wildlife – Highlights
Australia is known for its unique wildlife, as more than 80% of its plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are found nowhere else on earth. The country is home to many national parks and World Heritage Areas. The Great Barrier Reef Queensland is legendary for being the world’s biggest coral reef system, and is popular for diving and snorkeling. See our tips on marine activities here. Kakadu National Park provides some spectacular birdwatching opportunities, while Kangaroo Island is the best place to see marsupials in the wild. The island of Tasmania is another great destination to see wildlife. Spotting animals in the wild is often a matter of luck so here are a few of the parks where sightings are assured: the Lone Star Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane, the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the Gold Coast, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary in Kuranda, and the Melbourne Zoo. For more information, see our article on zoos here, and animal sanctuaries here.
Country Specific Issues
The fauna and flora of Australia is characterised by high numbers that are endemic to Australia. Native animals are under threat with over a hundred species currently under serious threat of extinction.
Australia has a poor record of conservation of native fauna. The extinction of Australian mega-forna is attributed to the arrival of humans and since European settlement, 23 birds, 4 frogs, and 27 mammal species are also known to have become extinct
Australia’s geographical isolation has resulted in the evolution of many delicate ecological relationships that are sensitive to foreign invaders and in many instances provided no natural predators for many of the species subsequently introduced. Introduced plants that have caused widespread problems are Lantana and the Prickly Pear Bush. The introduction and spread of animals such as the Cane Toad and the European Rabbit can disrupt the existing balances between populations and develop into environmental problems. The introductions of cattle into Australia and to a lesser extent the dingo are other examples of species that have changed the landscape. The introduced species of red fox has single handedly caused the extinction of several species.
Recent climate change reports have highlighted the threat of higher water temperatures to the Great Barrier Reef; just one of the notable issues with marine conservation in Australia is the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, a world heritage site and the largest coral reef on the planet. The Great Barrier Reef’s environmental pressures include water quality from runoff, climate change and mass coral bleaching, tourism visitor numbers, overfishing, and shipping accident. To read more on coral reefs click here or on coral damage click here.
Cameroon benefits a mammal population that is one of the largest in central West Africa. But like many countries in this region, poaching and bushmeat hunting remain a problem, and this might be hard to overcome when pitted against an opponent like Australia. With a unique fauna (80% of it not found elsewhere on the planet!), Oz is a wildlife paradise, yet its poor record of conservation is hindering its performance.
Cameroon 2 v 2 Australia after Full Time
But in extra time…Cameroon steal it with their huge diversity of species… Cameroon 3 v 2 Australia!
Don’t miss the next game…