Mount Kupe is less than 10 km east of the Bakossi mountains (CM022) and 20 km south of Mont Manengouba (CM021). The massif is similar in size to Mont Nlonako (CM023) and rises to only a little higher (2,064 m). Apart from a couple of small grassy clearings on a rocky outcrop near the summit, the mountain was entirely clothed in forest from the foothills at c.300 m. All sides have been gradually encroached upon by cultivation, up to 1,500 m on the eastern slopes and up to 750–1,100 m on the western and northern sides, near the villages of Mbule and Nyasoso. The better-preserved section includes primary mid-altitude and montane rainforest on the slopes above Nyasoso.
See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. Mount Kupe is one of the better-known sites in the country and the overall list for the area is c.330 species but, excluding commensal species and some vagrants, the total for the forest (including species of edges) is nearer 270. Until very recently, Telophorus kupeensis was thought to be endemic to the mountain, with only c.7 pairs located in 1990, between 950–1,450 m. The forest holds good numbers of Andropadus tephrolaemus, Phyllastrephus poensis, P. poliocephalus, Kupeornis gilberti, Urolais epichlora, Nectarinia oritis and N. ursulae; Cossypha isabellae is common above 1,400 m. Malaconotus gladiator is not uncommon above 1,500 m, with a preference for canopy clearings. Ploceus batesi is only of marginal occurrence, as a pair was recorded once on the lower edge of the forest at Nyasoso (at 900 m). Here, as elsewhere, this species seems to prefer secondary forest. Columba albinucha and Melignomon zenkeri are mainly observed in secondary forest at 1,000–1,100 m. The status of Malaconotus monteiri is uncertain as there is no specimen and large, yellow-breasted Malaconotus shrikes are probably more likely a morph of Malaconotus gladiator. One species of the Sudan–Guinea Savanna biome (A04) also occurs (Table 3).
Non-bird biodiversity: The status of Mandrillus leucophaeus (EN) was uncertain until recently (2000), when one group was relocated. There is a large assemblage of galago species on the mountain, including Arctocebus aureus (LR/nt). Recent botanical exploration of the forest has revealed some new species of trees.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
BirdLife International initiated a conservation project in 1991, taken over by WWF-Cameroon in 1997. The local villages agreed to a ban on hunting, which was largely respected for several years but which, from 1999, appears to have lapsed. Ecotourism has been successfully developed. However, agricultural encroachment continues and has accelerated recently (1998–1999) at Nyasoso, with large portions of pristine forest being cleared for gardens at various altitudes up to 1,500 m. The situation has improved in 2000–2001, with the boundary of the proposed reserve being demarcated with the help of the local villagers. A new management plan proposes to classify Kupe as a réserve écologique intégrale or Strict Nature Reserve.