Home News Stakeholders Collaborate With Cross River Communities To Protect Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary,...

Stakeholders Collaborate With Cross River Communities To Protect Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, Drill Ranch

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Environmental Stakeholders in Cross River state have sought stronger ties with forest communities to protect the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and Drill Ranch in Buanchor community, Boki local government area of the state.

The stakeholders in a town hall meeting held in Buanchor community, organised by Panacea for Developmental and Infrastructural Challenges for Africa Initiative(PADIC-Africa) in collaboration with Pandrillus Foundation said to address challenges threatening the Afi Mountain and Drill Ranch, there must be a significant policy change by government.

The Programme Officer, Pandrillus Foundation, Zack Schwenneker said the Afi Mountain and the Drill Ranch, Eco-Tourism sites in Buanchor have been facing constant encroachment of farming, hunting, logging and other illegal activities.

He charged representatives of communities around the Afi Mountain Sanctuary to draw government attention to the challenges that could hinder eco-tourism from flourishing in Buanchor and other conservative areas across the state.

“ Government has to change its policies for Eco-Tourism to thrive. Their presentatives in communities should push government to support NGOs working in the forest reserve areas, we can’t do it alone and communities can’t do it alone, we need government’s support.”

Worried over security of life of tourists, Pandrillus Programme Officer said,“The Onemile square is supposed to be a protective area, there shouldn’t be any hunting, there shouldn’t be any trapping, there shouldn’t be any logging. In December, we had international tourists, and people entered inside the camp with guns. ”Schwenneker suggested.

Speaking earlier, the Executive Director of PADIC-Africa, Dr. Martins Egot noted that the meeting was to look at areas where the communities living around the Afi Mountain would feel the impacts of activities and operations of NGOs both local international.

On his part, a renowned environmentalist, Dr. Odigha Odigha , warned that illegal activities in the reserved areas would scare potential international and local tourists.

Odigha who warned that it could degrade the status of the area, advised the community to protect the beautiful landscape of the Afi Mountain Sanctuary, describing it as God’s own home.

The Cross River State Ministry of Art, Tourism and Culture and the Cross River State Forestry Commission both stated that government was committed in making the state a destination for Eco-Tourism to thrive.

In his contribution, the Director, Eco-Tourism and Art Development, Cross River State Ministry of Art, Tourism and Culture, Mr. Clement Omina said, “ We are calling for a tripartite where the communities that are host to some of the attractions we find around us have to be part of the tourism project from the point of view of developing the tourism product to marketing the tourism product.”

Reacting, the community in a group interaction, agreed to work with NGOs that are interested in building the tourism hub in their forest.

Also worried over the illegal logging activities, they said “Logging activities happening in the northern part of the sanctuary is a critical issue, government should look into it.”

“We cannot succeed except those communities that are directly involved are carried along or they have a key role to play. If the communities are left aside, whatever we are doing here will not yield anything.”

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