Korup National Park
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Korup National Park (KNP), located in Southwest Cameroon, covers 126,900 ha of forest, most of which is evergreen forest. The forest has never been logged. The park was created in 1986 and includes the former Korup Forest Reserve, established under British mandate in the 1930s. It is now under the administration of the Department of Wildlife and Protected Areas in the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MINEF). Korup became part of the TEAM Network in 2011.
The Korup National Park has a number of camps, two of which harbour scientists. The camps are in the phase of rebuilding, as all buildings were destroyed by villagers in 2008 in a conflict over poaching. The TEAM project operates from the Chimpanzee Camp. The current facilities are very basic, with partial housing in tents. There is no electricity and all materials have to be carried to the camps by porters.
Furthermore, an office with storage space and limited visitor accommodations is available in Mundemba, 10 km driving from the park’s border.
The park has an extensive, well-maintained trail system.
Korup was part of a Pleistocene refugium. The forests are very ancient, rich in endemics, and highly diverse. The forest canopy is generally 15-25 m tall, with emergents up to 50 m tall. A typical large tree, second-most common in terms of basal area, is Lecomtedoxa klaineana with huge boles and impressive buttresses. One unusual characteristic is the abundance of small, unbranched trees with large leaves placed in terminal rosettes that trap litter.
At least 326 species of birds are found in and around Korup, including hornbills and the IUCN-listed red-headed rockfowl (Picathartes oreas) that nests below large boulders. The park has over 40 species of terrestrial mammals. These include four species of duiker: blue duiker Cephalophus monticola, bay duiker Cephalophus dorsalis, Ogilby’s duiker Cephalophus ogilbyi and yellow-backed duiker Cephalophus sylvicultor. Korup National Park contains 15 different primates including endangered species such as the drill Mandrillus leucophaeus, the highest-ranked primate in Africa for conservation action (Oates, 1996). Korup National Park also supports key populations of chimpanzee Pan troglodytes, the distinct subspecies of red-eared monkey Cercopithecus erythrotis camerunensis and the only confirmed population of Preuss’s red colobus Procolobus preussi (Oates, 1996).Forest elephants and chimpanzees are seen occasionally. Leopard is locally extinct or extremely rare.
Access to Korup is from the isolated village of Mundemba, which is located 5 hours driving from Buea, and about 6 hours from Douala International Airport. The road to Mundemba is in poor shape, and access can be very problematic in the wet season, especially in July-November. Access to Korup National Park is via 10 km of dirt roads through extensive oil-palm plantations, and passage of a large suspension foot bridge across the Mana river. It takes 10 km of hiking to get to Chimpanzee Camp from the Mana bridge.