Photographs from the rainforest of Cameroon with members of the Baka tribe.
The name Batoaula comes from a 1921 novel written by René Maran, a French writer born in Martinique, about a fictional kingdom in the Ubangi-Shari region of what today is the Central African Republic near the border with Cameroon.
This region is home to the Baka Pygmies, a hunter-gatherer tribe whose members are spread throughout several countries, mostly Cameroon, The Congo, DRC and Gabon. The history of the Baka is rife with tragedy and persecution. It was here, along the coast of Cameroon, where Europeans — mostly notably the Portuguese — began engaging in the slave trade as early as the mid-1400s.
However, the greatest threat facing the Baka today is that of the rapid deforestation taking place across the entire Congo Basin. Logging, both legal and illegal, are robbing the Baka of the forest they call home and depend upon for their lives.