The Omo Forest Reserve is a Nigerian wildlife reserve that is home to many tropical plants and animals. UNESCO refers to the forest, which lies about 135 kilometres away from Lagos, as a Biosphere Reserve.
The main species of plants found in the reserve include Diospyros spp., Dracaena manni, Khaya ivorensis, and Cordia millenii. UNESCO says, “The area also boasts (of having) the highest variety of butterflies in Africa.”
Omo Reserve houses animals and wildlife like the chimpanzee, pangolin, long-crested eagle, civet cat, white-throated monkey, African elephant and an endangered yellow casqued hornbill. There are claims that the reserve has about 100 of these African elephants.
This is why some young people have decided to dedicate their lives to protecting the Omo Nature Reserves. The elephant species is, in a way, shyer than the savannah type. However, there are some activities in the reserve that may endanger the lives of the elephants.
Omo ‘Reserves’ Elephants
Even though UNESCO protects some parts of the reserve, there is a section of it that is open. Thereby, in these parts, locals can carry out legal commercial activities. A coordinator of an NGO Forest Elephant Initiative, Emmanuel Olabode, said, “Removing trees in elephant habitat is exposing them, whereby they will not be comfortable. So it displaces them from their original home to somewhere else.”
Because farming and carpentry is a major profession for the locals, they tend to survive from cutting down these trees. An animal biology researcher, Joy Adeosun, said, “Human activities, like farming, is a major challenge. The elephants are scared of humans. As such, they take to flight so it becomes difficult to actually track them.”
Olabode and Adeosun are part of the team of young people invested in protecting the elephants in Omo Forest reserve. It seems like they have quite a task ahead of them. Nevertheless, they committed to making it work.