The Baka (sometimes known as pygmies) are an iconic people who have much to teach the world about equality between men and women and also traditional medicine, due to their intimate knowledge of medicinal plants that can be found in the forest.
They lived in these forests of the Cameroon and Congo for thousands of years and only took what they needed to survive. Their society is cooperative and egalitarian. Women are treated as equals;they are considered to be the custodians of the Baka musical tradition.
They are now banned from hunting in their traditional lands. They are beaten by WWF funded guards if they try to hunt food for their children. Outside the Yenga conservation area their forests are being destroyed by loggers. Their situation is becoming increasingly desperate.
They live in the outskirts of Bantu villages. The Bantu exploit them as cheap labour, forcing them to work for nothing or paying them in alcohol which further tears apart the fabric of their lives as it leads to domestic abuse. Their children are starving. Up to 50% of Baka children die before the age of 5.
WWF should take responsibility for their actions by concentrating funding on rescuing the Baka by providing them with the means to improve the desperate situation that they are in. The money they spend patrolling the forest could be spent providing healthcare, education and decent employment for the Baka.
Our ancestors would have lived as the Baka did before they were evicted from their land. We have much to learn by ending their suffering and providing them with a viable alternative to their traditional way of life.
We call on the WWF to take responsibility for their actions and care for people as they care for animals.
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