Taraba to conserve endangered hippos for tourism

Posted: February 23, 2018 in general
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Gashaka GumtiFaced with the threat of losing a rare pool of hippopotamuses at the Nwonyo Lake in Ibi Local Government Area of the state and the Gashaka Gumti Park, the Taraba State Government has disclosed plans to protect and conserve the animal species against extinction and for tourism purposes.

This was agreed upon during the presentation of findings and recommendations of the threats of hippopotamuses in Ibi council of the state, held in Jalingo by the Taraba State Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A wildlife specialist from Zimbabwe, Michael La-Grange, had during the occasion warned that Taraba State was faced with ‘imminent extinction’ of hippos and therefore encouraged the government to protect the animal species.

La-Grange while delivering a power-point lecture to the participants, advised that a boundary needed to be established round the lake where the animals live. Other suggestions he gave were that: the government should consider restocking the Gashaka Gumti Park, address the ignorance of community members and send extension officers to the communities to educate the people on how hippos behave.

The wildlife specialist also showed the audience the dwelling places of the animals using Google maps as well as the behaviour, population and threat the animals faced as a result of poaching and human activities.

In his opening remarks, the Taraba State Commissioner for Tourism and Culture, Atosuma Gani, disclosed that due to the threat to hippos by humans at the Lake Nwonyo, the government had approached the FAO to investigate and give their findings on how to conserve the hippos in order to attract tourists to the State.

Also speaking, FAO representative in Nigeria, Suffiyan Koroma, stated that the UN agency has a vision to help build food security in Nigeria, adding that for more than two weeks, a team from FAO was working to find out the threat posed to farming communities and to preserve the animals for tourism.

While delivering his speech, the Taraba State governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku, stated that the journey had just began to boost tourism in the State towards creating employment and empowering the people.

According to him 15,000 people were empowered in 2017 to farm rice and that government was working to persuade the Chinese people to establish a Madrid wood industry in the State as well as discourage indiscriminate felling of the trees.

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