Since 2006, Inza Koné has been fighting for the greater protection of the Tanoé-Ehy Forest, a 12,000 hectare swampy forest located in Côte d’Ivoire. This forest is home to four of the most endangered primates of West Africa: the roloway guenon, the white-naped mangabey, the white-thighed colobus, and Miss Waldron’s red colobus. To ensure the protection of these primates, Inza combines interdisciplinary research and informed participative actions for sustainable impacts in an iterative fashion. Inza Koné is a primate conservation biologist, Director General of the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire, and senior lecturer at the Felix Houphouët-Boigny University of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. He is the chairman of the African Primatological Society since 2017 and co-Vice chair of the Africa section of the Primate Specialist Group of the IUCN.
“Since I won the award, my team and I have been helping to develop alternative livelihoods and highlight the economic value of ecosystem services to demonstrate that conservation does not have to be a choice between wildlife and human welfare. Our work consists of empowering communities to carry out conservation activities. To do so, I have been combining modern technologies with traditional knowledge and skills to achieve our conservation goals.” – Inza Koné
Vision and Approach
The Tanoé-Ehy forest is the largest of the few remaining rainforests in south-eastern Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa and harbours an abundance of threatened animals and plants. Despite its significance, the forest is under high pressure from hunting for bushmeat, illegal chainsaw-milling, logging and agricultural clearings. Inza’s successful campaign against proposals to drain and convert 8,000 hectares of the Tanoé-Ehy forest into a palm oil plantation in 2008 gave a much-needed boost to the then developing community-based conservation and management system. Since then, Inza is helping to create a more sustainable way of life and ensures greater awareness and protection of West Africa’s four most threatened primates.
Impact of the Future For Nature Award
- The financial support of the Future For Nature Award has made it possible to help develop alternative livelihoods and highlight the economic value of ecosystem services to demonstrate that conservation does not have to be a choice between wildlife and human welfare.
- Communities are empowered to carry out conservation activities, such as sustainable farming, by combining modern technologies with traditional knowledge and skills.
- As Inza states, winning the Future For Nature Award led him to receive unprecedented national and international recognition for his work.
“I’m impressed by Inza’s clarity of thought, scientific integrity and in particular by his practical activism in what I can only imagine must have been extremely difficult circumstances politically. Whilst he has won acclaim in the past, I feel the FFN award will give him the critical recognition and financial boost he needs to save the primates of the Tanoe forest.” – Saba Douglas-Hamilton, International Selection Committee