>> Breaking up illegal camps. These park rangers driving cocoa farmers out of Ivory Coast's Mont Peko National Park. Warlords sold off parcels of protected land. Much of it to immigrants from neighboring countries during a period of crisis and war from 2002 to 2011. It was turned over to growing cocoa, Ivory Coast's main cash crop.
Thousands of those farmers are now homeless. Reuters correspondent Joe Bavier reports from>> They spent their savings to buy land illegally inside these parks. Some of them not necessarily knowing that they were buying land that was protected. And now, they're being kicked off their farms and they're finding themselves with very little means too support their families.
>> Hundreds of thousands could be left destitute by the evictions in the western cocoa belt. This area witnessed some of the war's worst massacres and remains tense.>> The theory is that by pushing these, mainly immigrant farmers out of the parks into the surrounding villages and communities. You're only going to be exacerbating the tensions that already exist, and there's a potential for flare ups of violence.
>> But scientists say the cost of doing nothing is even higher. Ivory Coast's rainforest is the most rapidly disappearing in Africa. Populations of chimpanzees, forest elephants, and the rare pygmy hippopotamus have been destroyed. And deforestation has affected rainfall, so cocoa and coffee yields are dropping anyway. This could be the last chance for the rainforests, but unless the human cost is redressed, that too could be deadly.