The Forest Elephants of Nigeria’s Okuma National Park
The forests of southern Nigeria, much reduced in size, still contain some small elephant populations. Okomu National Park, in Edo State, comprises some 200 square kilometres of forest and swamp, under heavy pressure from illegal logging, settlement, hunting and even oil smuggling. The rangers are poorly armed, and visitors are few and far between. In Benin City, only some 50 kms away, few people are aware that elephants still survive in Okomu. They are shy and elusive, which is probably just as well. A casual visitor has no chance of seeing them. But their existence is undeniable…take a look at this camera-trap video supplied by the Nigerian National Park Service. Okomu is also home to buffalos, chimpanzees, rare monkeys and fabulous birdlife.
We hope that as Nigeria’s engagement with the EPI deepens, we can work together on a National Elephant Action Plan, to secure the future of Okomu and other forests.
EPI Director of Communications Barnaby Phillips with park rangers. To Barnaby’s left, Okomu Park Conservator Ahmed Abdullahi.