Exploring wildlife tourism of Taraba’s Gashaka-Gumti

Posted: November 14, 2013 in travel & tourism

gashaka gumtiAs the state slogan implies “natures gift to the nation”, the Gashaka National Gumti Park clearly signifies the state’s slogan with its natural and beautiful weathers’, rivers, bills, forests and various species of animals, as tourists and visitors were recently taken round this park to see for themselves the Taraba State’s tourism attractions and potentials.

Gashaka-Gumti National Park (GGNP) is located in the remote mountainous region of north-eastern Nigeria, between the boundaries of Adamawa and Taraba States, Ecologically; the Park is situated in the sub-Sahara Guinea Savannah Zone of Africa, in the sub-tropical zone of the south-east’s highlands of the Savannah area of Nigeria, south of the Benue River. The Park is the main watershed/ catchment area of’ the Taraba River, the major tributary of the Benue River.

It also shares international boundary with the Republic of Cameroon, adjacent to Earn National Park in that country. Immediately to the south of the park is the awe-inspiring Mambilla Plateau. It is administratively divided into Gumti Sector is the north (Adamawa State) and Gashaka Sector in. the South (Taraba State).

Gashaka-Gumti is among the seven National Parks in Nigeria. It is the largest, mess scenic and biologically diverse conservation enclave. There are few conservation enclaves in the World that can boast of suds unique, spectacular and diverse sceneries as testis vast sod relatively unspoilt wilderness; one of Africa’s beat kept “conservation secrets”.

The park encompasses savannahs, forests, wetlands, and monotone habitats in a continuous ecological transiting rare, if not unique in the West African sub-region. The gradation of these ecosystems depends on altitude and the north-south spread.

Gashaka-Gumti is a potential extension to a wildlife corridor system moving in a north-easterly direction to Earn, genoas and Boubandjida National Parks in Cameroon. All these harbour many of the big game species formerly found throughout the West African Region. The Park’s Plateau (which belong to the Cameroon highlands) are utmost priority for conservation in Central Amen, and are also essential for the long- term conservation of s wide range of teas, as the area is deemed especially significant for all tax. Thus, the Park’s ecosystems are especially important for speciation process.

For visitors crimping from the South, main access to Gashaka Sector is from Wadsari Mutuna-niyu – Bali- Scat and into the Park through Rodel or, Katsina-Ala Tekum – Bali – Serti to the Park through. Another route is from either Numan-Jalingo-or Yola-Meyo Belwa. Jalingo to Serti- model and listen to the Park. While main access to Gumti Sector is from lois Mayo Belwa Jada Ganye. Toungo into the park. ‘The nearest airport to the park is at Yola, Adamawa State. There is aura an airstrip at Serti and Jalingo although the facilities are-yet to be completed for operation.

The sheer variety of habitats within the park proudly advertises the area’s unique and rich wildlife. Each habitat type supports its own distinctive community of plants fovea’ 1,000 different species recoiled and animals (about 102 mammals species so far recorded). Reinforce provides sanctuary for animals such as she Gisne-foresthog, Leopard, Yellowcake Duller, Golden Cat, and different primate species including – Chimpanzees.

The park’s mountain harbour populations of rare and endemic species, For instance, in Leaden Fadali Forest, Scientist have discovered a new species of Acanthseceae; a red lowering shrub of she ganus Metering whose nearest relatives are found in the East African Montane Forests. Other majestic animals found include the rare Adamawa Mountain Reedbuck, Black & White Columbus, Monkey’, Ordi, and Klipspringer.

Its numerous unspoilt rivers contain hippos, crocodiles, otters and wide variety of releases (over disparate a new so science) and various aquatic and amphibious life. The Park’s ecosystem ate still rich in birdlife (over 477 species solar identified) and butterflies (non species stat of which 5 species are new to science.

The convenient time for park – viewing or holidaying is from late December to April this period is when visitors may be able to see a tot of wildlife species, varied picturesque sceneries, different vegetation-types and pursue a combination of ecotourism / recreational activities, research and education field trips During the season, accessibility has been made eastern through maintenance of tracks and trails, and improves visibility by regulated bush burning.

From late July to November, accessibility is however, very difficult as flooded rivers, streams, overgrown vegetation and anarchy areas hays cut oft assess so many places of recreational interests.

Gashaka-Gumti can also be described as a miniature Garden of paradise reclaimed from, destruction bring protected, and conserved for posterity. Its proximity to, the Mambilla Plateau end its advantageous location to the adjoining Euro National Park in Cameroon has a – the potential of drawing considerable member of international visitors in the near future for various ecotourism related.

Activities such as primate watching, mountaineering, bird – watching, holidaying and ecological researches.. Coupled with its beautiful sceneries, floe subtropical climatic t’ conditions, flora and fauna diversity, the Perk and its surroundings oiler amusing opportunities for tare ecotourism sureties amongst which include the following: –

Of all the seven national parks in Nigeria, Gashaka-Gumti has the most the ideas potentials of the recognised fishing site is Mayo-Kam, around the Bippo-pool, Apart from sustaining fishing gene-pool, the Park area as an important watershed for Silvers Taraba Recite and a ethical spawning ground or variety of migratory fish and other aquatic species that complete their life cycle in the Benue River system.

The Park experiences varying but pleasant weather conditional, depending on specific mutating. These micro-climatic conditions range from dry-humid, tropical moiat, mid in the lowland, to sub-temperate climate on the (high) plateaux around Chappell Wade, Chapter Hendo, Maaabere and Filings. Areas Chappal adjoining the Mamhilla Plateau experience mostly cold, cloudy, and misty or brewery conditions with rarefied air similar to that of the Mediterranean Region or Obudu Plateau in Cross-River State, Nigeria.

Gashska-Gumti’s biggest attraction is the unique opportunity to observe chimpanzee undisturbed in their natural habitat; Kwano forest, Liangs Mountain, Gunsti area and Chappel Wade are some of the possible sites. The inaccessible, thickly forested mountains of this vest protected area provide sanctuary to large numbers of chimpanzees’ which forms one of the few remaining chimpanzee strongholds anywhere else.

The National Park Service administers and manages all the seven National Parka including Gashaka-Gumti.

Gumti is a range for chimpanzee as it consists of derived Savannah fringing along streams, steep valleys and on mountain line. A top Gumti mountain range, chimpanzee calls could be occasionally heard.

The tourist is invited to explore the commanding view of a continuum of mountains/hill the stretch from Gumti to Adaguro settlements, interacting with various bureaus in their traditional cultural settings. Remains of ancient village fortifications, ditches and balustrades are still conspicuous in Gumti.

The Gashaka – Gumti National park with staff strength of 6o, out of this number 500 arc ranchero, Its headquarters is located in Serti Gashaka local government and share boundaries with Sardauna local government council in Taraba state and Toungo local government in Adamawa state.

However, it would be recalled that during its management retreat for the staff of national park service held at the Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Taraba state, the CG of National Parks Service Alhaji Haruna Tanko Abubakar expressed concern on the 2012 flood which washed away wild animals including hippopotamus, snakes, crocodiles and antelopes into people’s homes thereby losing some valuable aquatic and terrestrial resources.

He noted that part from animals, many and properties were also lost as a result of the flood. The conservator general stated that the national emergency management agency (NEMA) issued warning that lives of nearly one million Nigerians and 20,000 herds of cattle were at risk due to the collapse of Lake Nyos in the Republic of Cameroon.

According to him the national park service have greater emphasis in communities as its new vogue, pointing out that the management has no limit to the conventional management in protecting only landscape, but also managing human problem in support host communities. He disclosed that the national park service Act, CAP 65, 2004 talks about host communities and their welfare.

Abubakar disclosed that with the latest technological devise such as CCTV cameras and cyber tracker, park managers find it easy to track activities of violators and also monitor changes in ecology right inside their offices. On staff welfare, he said the management has placed greater premium in staff motivation so as to encourage them put in their best. He announced the upward review of staff hazard allowance to twenty percent of gross salary which commence in July, 2012 and urged staff to rise to their responsibility of saving people from wild animals attack and ensure the rescue of such animals attack and ensure the rescue of such animals in terms of disaster. He used the forum too appreciate the contributions of stakeholders living around the Gashaka-Gumti National Park for always standing by the park.

In his remarks the Conservator of Park (CP), Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Dr. Agbola Okeyoyin commended the conservator general for his foresight in anticipating participating and organising the peace setting retreat aimed at finding a collective suggestions on manning National Parks forward.

He express his appreciation to the conservator general for approving allowances for the national parks services as issued by the federal government.

Okeyoyin disclosed that the Gashaka-Gumti National Park has continued to make progress in the pursuit of its management objective which include span of areas affected, ecotourism expansion, community and intergovernmental relations, Ecosystem control and monitoring.

Gashaka-Gumti National Park in its commitment to its host communities has constructed and donated properties for their benefits which include a block of three classrooms at Mayo-Gim Gashaka local government Taraba state, a 50kv generator set at Toungo, Adamawa state, skills acquisition centre, among others.

By Emmanuel Awari

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