Protecting the natural environment – ​​Promoting tourism


The occasion of World Wildlife Day, which was celebrated recently on March 3, has given me the opportunity to contemplate the state of the natural world, which is a very important part of what constitutes the tourist experience. , and indigenous space for those of us who work in tourism. This is the case, especially as nature continues to witness a range of impacts that have led to climate change concerns – evident in heat storms, rising water levels and massive flooding, desertification, etc., all of which are fundamentally altering the environment that we have come to know, celebrate and work with.

Furthermore, there continues to be a huge loss of biodiversity, in terms of the relentless decimation of wildlife stocks, including flora and fauna that have enhanced the beauty of the natural ecosystem and brought it into balance. .

Our continued concern to discover the natural – and even built – environment through tourism can only be possible and sustainable if and when we are in tune with the growing urgency of its decline, and those many elements that make it up, and then make the critical efforts necessary to mitigate them.

Today, I lend my voice to the advocacy of a range of actors across Nigeria and the world, who understand the issues we hold in preserving and protecting the natural environment, the ecosystem – with all its nuances of biodiversity, and to postpone their deterioration in a very intentional way.

Undoubtedly, the depletion of the atmospheric ozone layer in the march of human progress, through the great industrial revolutions and our subsequent consumer habits, has resulted in global warming which has left climate patterns unbalanced. This has been linked to the rise in greenhouse gases from the combustion of hydrocarbons, as much as it has been due to industrial emissions, deforestation, as well as other economic activities that impact the environment. environment.

Consequently, over the past century, not only have our rainforests been steadily depleted, but even the savannahs and mangrove forests have changed dramatically, while an increasingly hot Sahel has continued to encroach, alongside the loss of our biodiversity – plants, animals, the various wild species, which die or move elsewhere in huge waves of transcontinental migration.

Nigeria’s biodiversity endowment – ​​and its loss

The Nigerian biodiversity endowment has also been an essential form of tourism endowment since time immemorial, motivating people to take trips to places where certain species of animals or plants used to exist, both for nutritional and therapeutic. And, as the increase in human population continually intensified the need to play, hunt and harvest these biodiversity resources, it dramatically spawned the trajectory of their loss, and thus the resounding need for protection.

Nigeria’s biodiversity treasure has been documented as comprising almost eight thousand species of plants, distributed in over 300 families and over 2,200 genera. In addition, some 22,000 species of vertebrates and invertebrates, including some 20,000 insects, over 1,000 birds, 1,000 fish, 123 reptiles and 247 mammals. In addition, nearly 1,500 species of microorganisms have been recorded, critical to the country’s remarkable richness in biodiversity, from the arid north to the wetlands of southern Nigeria, and the various vegetation subsets in between.

Despite the variety and range of these treasures, human activities in driving the wheels of progress and advancement, as discussed earlier, have resulted in huge losses of our biodiversity over the past century. While a large number of species have been permanently lost, many more remain under continued threats from poaching, illegal gambling/hunting and climate change etc. , gorilla, gray parrot, genera of crocodiles, African manatee, chimpanzee, giraffe, white-throated guenon, African bush elephant, hippopotamus, water chevrotain, Ariel’s gazelle and African rock python, among others .

Plant/tree species at risk of lasting loss include African teak, F.White or Diospyros elliotii (Hiern), African Whitewood, Fennel Flower (or Nigella sativa), Sausage Tree or Kigelia, Traditional Chewing Stick or Masilania accuminatathen the garcina manni, Oucunbaca aubrevillei, Erythrina senegalensis, Cassia nigricansand the Acid hymenocardiaetc

Halt the decline and loss of biodiversity

This is in recognition of the great value of the world’s animal biodiversity, their invaluable importance, their contributions to ecosystem balance and the concern over their gradual extinction, due to natural and anthropogenic factors. , that World Wildlife Day was finally established in December 2013. It is a proclamation of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly, which adopted the Convention on International Trade in Species of of Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and declared March 3 as a day to raise awareness and celebrate the World Heritage of Wild Fauna and Flora and Fauna.

While it has been projected that over one million species of wild fauna and flora, alongside wildlife, are critically endangered, this has prompted the designation of the theme for World Wildlife Day. Wildlife 2022 as “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration” to promote the need for conservation and protection of these endangered species. And it aligns with and reinforces the headline goals of UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 12, 13, 14 and 15, all of which affirm the need to commit to the sustainable use of world resources and their conservation.

As such, the 2022 edition of World Wildlife Day speaks to the urgency of reversing the loss of the planet’s critical biodiversity and restoring their habitats and the wider ecosystem. Recognition of the need to conserve our wildlife and other key animal and plant species in Nigeria has led to the establishment of a network of protected areas, including a biosphere reserve, nine national parks, over 400 forest reserves, about 30 game reserves and nearly a dozen nature reserves.

Landscapes of natural tourist assets

Apart from the various areas mentioned above, such as forest and game reserves, some of the major protected areas for wildlife and biodiversity in Nigeria are the nine national parks, which cumulatively span some 2.4 million hectares of land in the country. Remarkable spheres of conservation and ecotourism destinations, these parks are home to more than 1,300 animal species, including more than 800 birds, as well as hundreds of unique fauna and flora.

These diverse ecological realms, incorporating numerous cultural and historical landmarks, include the Chad Basin National Park in northeastern Nigeria, which includes the Sambisa Game Reserve and the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands; the Cross River National Park, including the Okwangwo and Oban sections which run through some 4,000 square kilometers of rainforests in the north and center and mangroves in the coastal areas.

There is also the Gashaka-Gumti National Park, which is the largest in the country, as a compound of two game reserves, which stretch from the eastern parts of Taraba and Adamawa states and up to the borders Nigerian with Cameroon; and Kainji National Park straddling Niger and Kwara states. This includes Lake Kainji, where fishing is restricted, Zuguruma Game Reserve to the southeast, and Borgu Game Reserve to the west, all covering an area of ​​5,341 square kilometers.

Kamuku National Park in Kaduna State covers a total landmass of 1,120 square kilometers, with a predominantly Sudanese savannah ecology, while Old Oyo National Park crosses the northern part of Oyo State and the southern part of Kwara State. There is also the Jos Wildlife National Park in Plateau State in north-central Nigeria and the Yankari National Park in Bauchi State, stretching to the northeast of the country, and the Okomu National Park in South West Ovia Local Government. region of Edo State. It is an expanse of forest that spans 1,082 square kilometers of land.

To the extent that our current efforts for the conservation and protection of our biodiversity, such as animal fauna, as well as the particular fauna and flora of our ecosystem, and natural habitats, have a history beginning with the British colonial administration prior to Nigeria, we are certainly compelled to delve into this. And this has been one of the cardinal goals of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in its policies on the natural environment, which we all need in balance to sustain ourselves on land and continue to enjoy tourism experiences. This is not only in line with international standards and ideals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, but it is also true pragmatism and good economics.

While the British established many forest reserves which were later turned into national parks and conservation areas, which are increasingly important tourist centres, the urgency of now requires that we all support this heritage by taking our commitments to the preservation and restoration of natural resources. the environment more seriously – as we do and urge others at the National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) – so that we can continually savor all that our biodiversity and environment have to offer.

The future of our world and tourism is feminist

I will not end this essay around the need for the protection of nature and the environment without offering a resounding salute to our women, who do much of the work of tourism, directly and through its associated sectors, in the spirit of International Women’s Day. 2022 (IWD) which was just held on March 8.

There is no doubt that women not only constitute about half of the world and Nigerian population, but unfortunately they are still burdened with the burdens of tradition, convention and society, which delimit their potentials and possibilities. . One way to liberate the future we are striving for and allow for its diverse perspectives is for all of us to become feminists and help our women to unleash their diverse abilities and abilities, as they continue to shatter any prejudices that lie on their way. So help us, my God.

Coker, the Baba Eto of Yorubaland and Managing Director of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, is the leading distributor of the Nigerian destination


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