Endangered chimpanzees, other primates and forest elephants are at risk of losing their habitat in Cameroon if a U.S. company’s plan to establish a palm oil plantation goes ahead.

New York-based Herakles Farms claim that most of its project area consists of heavily degraded forests and farmland. However,  aerial surveys, analysis of satellite images and field research from Greenpeace  is proving the opposite: vast areas of forest are still largely intact and provide vital corridors for wildlife between the protected areas.

Preliminary findings from a new study conducted by the Dschang University, Cameroon, in collaboration with Göttingen University, Germany, and supported by Greenpeace found the area to be home to not only the chimpanzee, but also the forest elephant, rare primates such as the endangered drill and the critically endangered Preuss’s red colobus monkey, plus a number of fish species, many endemic to the region. In addition to its impact on animals, many villagers in the affected area have argued that the industrial oil palm plantation will encroach on their lands and adversely affect their livelihoods and food security.

Herkales Farms currently plans to build a 70,000 hectare palm oil plantation and has claimed that it will be proactive on environmental concerns, including not cutting high conservation value forest and working with the local community to undercut the current bushmeat trade in the region.  In 2012, Herkales Farms abandoned seeking certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which provides guidelines for sustainable palm oil production, after several advocacy groups lodged complaints.

Interested in helping stop the Herakles Palm Oil Project? Click here to send an email below to the CEO of Herakles Farms, demanding that the company drops its palm oil plans in Cameroon.

Image Source: Paul Homer/Flickr