Forest resources as ecotourism attraction: Cross River National Park, Nigeria

Bukola Omotomilola Adetola, Abideen Abiodun Alarape, Ibukun Augustine Ayodele


Cross River National Park (CRNP) in Nigeria with its natural resources of tourist significance can help to foster a culture of conservation and recreation among the public. This study identified ecotourism attractions in CRNP aiming to promote its sustainable use and to enhance its planning as a haven for ecotourism in Nigeria. A field survey of ecotourism resources was conducted in the park during 2010-2014. Fauna resources were identified along the 5 km transects that covered existing trails and jeep tracks in both dry and wet seasons. Quadrat method (15 sample plots of 50 m x 20 m) was used for the vegetation assessment and Shannon-Weiner Diversity Index (H) and descriptive statistics were calculated. Findings revealed that the rainforest, game viewing, birdwatching, mountain climbing, camping, rock formation, village tour, botanical garden tour and water recreation as core ecotourism attractions in CRNP. Fifteen wild animal species belonging to nine families were observed (endangered 01, least concerned 12, near threatened 01, vulnerable 01). Wild animals included drill monkey Mandrillus leucophaecus (endangered), elephant Loxodonta africana cyclotis (vulnerable), bat Eidolon helvum (near threatened), and bare-headed rock fowl Picarthates oreas (endemic) which are “ecostars” and “a must see” that warrant a visit to the park. Other animals were least concerned. A total of 81 tree species belonging to 26 families were identified. Shannon-Wiener Diversity index (H’) of 3.88 and 3.84 were recorded for Oban and Okwango divisions respectively. The most dominant family in Oban was Leguminosae (12 species) and in Okwango, it was Apocynaceae (10 species). Managing and promoting the sustainable use of the park’s numerous resources to actualize the potential value non-consumptively through ecotourism is hereby recommended.

Keywords: attraction, conservation ecotourism, national park, rainforest

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