The willingness to pay (WTP) for the conservation of wild animals: Case of the Derby Eland (Taurotragus derbianus gigas) and the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) in North Cameroon
Data on the perception of and willingness to pay (WTP) for the conservation of the Derby Eland and the African Wild Dog in North Cameroon were collected from August to October 2004 using administered questionnaires. The results show a positive attitude of respondents towards wildlife conservation. They indicated willingness to support actions geared towards the conservation of endangered species in National Parks. WTP often leads to a social dilemma of a choice between one’s self interests and community or group interest. This choice often affects attitudes, motivations, perceptions, and values leading to different outcomes at the individual and group levels. The level of awareness of the need for wildlife conservation of endangered species in Cameroon National Parks is high and thus leads to a high approval of conservation plans. As a result respondents expressed the view that individuals have a moral obligation to cooperate in wildlife conservation effort. Where private operators and governments manage hunting zones (ZIC) and National Parks respectively, the results are not always excellent as they should be. Funds generated from taxes and individual contributions for specific conservation measures are neither used by officials for wildlife conservation as hoped nor to compensate farmers for damages caused by wildlife. Even though a positive environmental attitude influences the WTP for environmental goods, the WTP for environmental goods is certainly out of surplus and personal unique dispositions, perception, organization, understanding and appreciation of the environment. However, under the present management scheme, local communities around Faro and Benoué National Parks benefit from tax quotas. Primarily because of the attractiveness and beauty of the Derby Eland and the African Wild Dog, respondents expressed favourable attitude towards their conservation despite their attractive tendencies and notorious labels as animals of prey.
Key words: Conservation, gender, perception, willingness to pay, ecotourism.