Mexican Volunteer Ventures Out For Country Onion Wildings
Hello, my name is Erandi, and 24 years old. I’m from Guadalajara in Mexico; a student of Cubac in Agroforestry and Biology.
Many years ago when grandfather asked us what we wanted to be when grown up, I said a primatologist. I love animals, but primates are my passion. And that is why I arrived in Cameroon on August 5, 2015 to do volunteer at the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiveristy and Non-Profit Studies (ERuDeF Institute) in Buea – researching on primates especially the Cross River gorilla; its behaviour; sounds, social groups and feeding habits. This would contribute to my practical training towards graduation.
But first let me tell you about my first day in the Cameroon forest, precisely on Mt. Etinde in Limbe. I was very much exited because it was my first expedition in Cameroon. I had prepared egg, coffee and bread for breakfast. Guided by team leader Tengem Adeline from the Conservation of Threatened Trees in the Mt. Cameroon Area project, and driven by Asong Fabian, I and two other interns; Osayo Leaticia from the University of Buea and Acho Loveline from the ERuDeF Institute set off at 7am from ERuDeF head office.
We began hiking up the mountain at 8:30 am. The purpose of our trip is to collect country onion (Afrostyrax lepidophyllus) for transplantation into the wild. It does not sound like gorilla study, does it? But just like the Cross River gorilla which is endangered, country onion is also considered vulnerable by The Red List of 1998. The Range Description: Sub-populations are confined to Subri and Cape Three Points Forest Reserve in Ghana, in parts of the Southwest Region of Cameroon and in Gabon in an area to the north and in Lopé Forest Reserve.
Country onion is an important plant that is used as food and for income.
There is no rain this morning but we can hear a storm coming. I can hear a lot of birds but I can’t see them because there is very thick vegetation. We hike for approximately three hours after that we begin to see country onion seeds; the ones that we need to collect are the ones that are all ready germinated. After few hours of collecting, it’s time to leave.
Back in Buea, we visit the central nursery at the Delegation of the Ministry of Forersty and Wildlife where we are going to pot the country onion wildings and care for them until they ready to transplant in the forest. We apply Rodenticide and Muccap in each polythene bag against rodents.
After working in a government rescue centre in Mexico; CIVS (Centro investigacion y de reabilitacion de vida Silvestre) rescuing wildlife pets – chimps, elephants, snakes, frogs, spiders, etc, when they go missing, and we are called to rescue them and return them to their owners, I have learnt a lot about conservation NGOs. I did not know anything about how they operate. At ERuDeF Institute, I have learnt that the NGO also teaches youngsters environmental conservation.
I also have learnt to eat plums with milk.