Club P.A.N. is part of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation's environmental education program operating around the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire and in the region of Boké / Sangaredi in the western part of Guinea.
The forests in Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire are home to a large number of western chimpanzees, hence our name P.A.N (the genus name for chimpanzees). P.A.N. also stands for Personnes, Animaux, Nature (People, Animals Nature) as educating people is a crucial part of nature conservation
The conservation goals of Club P.A.N.
- To teach children about the flora and fauna of the region's ecosystem, so that they appreciate and take pride in the biodiversity that exists in their region
- To teach children basic knowledge on environmental issues in order to promote care and awareness towards nature conservation and its significance
- To discourage the trade in illegal bushmeat by reducing the likelihood that the current generation of children will consume or trade bushmeat in the future
- To promote the conservation and research activities undertaken within the countries.
Tropical forests were once widespread throughout West Africa but are continuing to decline, from more than 40 million ha to less than 8 million ha today (Martin, 1989). Consequently, the wildlife in the forests of these tropical countries is also declining at a tremendous rate due to various threats, but most notably due to bushmeat hunting, driven by an ever-increasing protein demand by some of the world's poorest people. Furthermore, the bushmeat trade is the key contributor to local economies in tropical Africa and elsewhere (Robinson et al., 1999; Robinson & Bennett, 2000; Milner-Gullard et al., 2003).
In addition to short-term projects aimed at reducing the impact of bushmeat hunting on local wildlife populations, such as increased anti-poaching patrols and other law-enforcement strategies, it is important to consider long-term programs to protect endangered wildlife. In this respect public outreach and awareness programs can play a vital role in changing local attitudes towards the intrinsic value of wildlife.
Conservation education is seen as a priority action for the conservation of chimpanzees and other wildlife (Kormos et al., 2003). Awareness raising campaigns of the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation in the past have conveyed the need to conserve chimpanzees through interactive theaters, discussion rounds, films and newsletters. These campaigns are often targeted at adults whereas long-term approaches oriented towards the next generation, have only rarely been employed thus far. Therefore, the conservation group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig Germany (made up of graduate students from the department of primatology) approached the WCF to expand their education activities to include the local school children and from this union, Club P.A.N. was created in 2007.
Since then every year ten conservation education sessions were held in 12 schools around the Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire and since 2010 in 4 schools in the region of Boké / Sangaredi in the western part of Guinea.
Please visit the Club P.A.N. blog http://clubpan.blogspot.com to see videos and photos of Club P.A.N.'s classes and workshops since 2007 and read updates on the activities of the nature clubs.