Boundou Community Reserve
(Réserve Naturelle Communautaire Du Boundou)
Farsight Conservation founder and producer, Jono Gilbert, and co-producer, Jessica Mulvey, travelled to the remote eastern border of Senegal in early 2017. They were given an exclusive opportunity to film the conservation efforts of the Boundou Community Reserve, a natural area set aside and protected by the mayors and citizens of four districts in the Boundou region. The region was once a flourishing savannah, home to many now locally extinct animals, including elephants and lions. Due predominately to poaching and a lack of environmental awareness, the communities continue to harvest animals and trees at an unsustainable rate, reflecting a global trend in species-rich third world countries. The reserve was established in 2009 to combat these behaviours in order to regain the lush ecosystem the Boundou once was, ultimately hoping to attract eco-tourists and allow for economic development in this deeply impoverished community.
The five-day trip brought them in contact with community leaders, educators, children, and voluntary “eco-guards” who are appointed to uphold the tenets of the reserve. The challenges of creating and maintaining a natural area that is also home to several thousand people quickly came to light.
The resultant films seek to highlight these challenges, spanning from the disconnect in their utilitarian attitude towards nature and the inherent value placed on it by conservation, to the hypocrisies of those involved in maintaining the reserve, as well as the Western nations that support conservation endeavors abroad, and most importantly, the conflict between the wants and needs of the people versus the goals of the reserve. The films are predominately intended to become an educational tool for both school children, which are the main focus of current environmental education efforts, as well as adults – many of whom do not even recognize they are living in a nature reserve.
The Boundou provides a fascinating and cautionary case study for global conservation. However, with the help of these films and continued community education, the Boundou may finally find a balance between the people and their land, providing an emblem for conservation worldwide.
To find out more about our time in the Boundou - and some of the problems facing the reserve - read our daily blogs, by Jessica Mulvey:
Boundou Community Reserve | Environmental Awareness for Local Children
Filmed and edited by Jono Gilbert
Produced by Jessica Mulvey
Photos from top to bottom:
1. Two girls from Koussan
2. Gabriel Caucanas, reserve volunteer and trip guide, teaching Ndiarendi children how to prepare plots for future trees
3. Jono and Gabriel filming teacher Amady Sy in Belly-Simbara
4. Student in Ndiarendi
5. Jess taking notes in Linguekone classroom
6. Jono speaking to locals outside Ndiarendi school house
7. From left to right: Valentina Apostoli (volunteer), Jess and Gabriel with children in Koussan
Photo credits: Jono Gilbert and Jessica Mulvey
8. Map of Boundou Reserve - photo credit