- Country: Nigeria
- Location: Omo Forest Reserve
- Forest elephant population: 60+
- Number of rangers: 10
- Project description:
- Supporting the development of a wildlife sanctuary
- Supporting anti-poaching efforts
- Developing Omo forest infrastructure
Omo Forest Reserve (just outside Lagos State) contains some of the last remaining forests in South West Nigeria. These forests are of great conservation value with 200 species of tree, 203 species of bird and many mammals including endangered species such as chimpanzee; white-throated guenon monkeys and forest elephants. The Omo forests are amongst the last 10% of suitable forest habitat remaining for forest elephants in Nigeria!
The Omo, Shasha and Oluwa forest reserves are currently separately managed by the Forestry Department of Ogun, Ondo and Osun states however they are now being unified under the broader conservation project called the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Project. It is hoped that the shared corridors will extend conservation programs to other species of conservation significance such as the Nigerian-Cameroonian chimpanzees and the lesser known forest elephant.
There are currently only around 80 forest elephants within Omo forest reserve and they are at serious risk from a number of threats. The main threats faced by these forest elephants include habitat destruction and habitat fragmentation caused by emergence of new cocoa farmers due to increased populations of migrant farmers as well as poaching for ivory and bushmeat.
AFEF has teamed up with the Omo Forest Elephant Initiative, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, African Nature Investors and Paignton Zoo to create a 55,000ha Wildlife Sanctuary within the Omo Forest Reserve and support the development of an anti-poaching unit to help protect these forest elephants and their habitat.
AFEF will be providing vital equipment for the eco-guards on the ground including boots; socks backpacks and flashlights as well as camera traps and GPS units that will assist with anti-poaching operations as well as monitoring. AFEF will also be supporting the development of strategically located ranger posts around the Omo forest reserve to increase anti-poaching presence.