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OMO FOREST (Nigeria)


  • Country: Nigeria

  • Location: Omo Forest Reserve

  • Forest elephant population: 60+

  • Number of rangers equipped by AFEF: 10

  • Completed Projects: 

    •  ​Provision of bio monitoring equipment

    •  Provision of anti-poaching equipment

    •  Rangers hut provision and construction

  • Current Projects: 

    • Working​ with Africa Nature Investors (ANI) Foundation; the Nigerian Conservation Foundation; and Paignton Zoo to create a 55,000 ha Wildlife Sanctuary within the Omo Forest Reserve.

    • Continued provision of 'Boots on the Ground'


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Omo Forest Reserve

Omo Forest Reserve.  This ecologically-rich tropical rainforest is in southwestern Nigeria, covers 130,000 hectares, and is one of the last remaining habitats for forest elephants in the country.

Pristine rainforest habitat is rare in Nigeria, forests containing elephant populations even more so, and the importance of the Omo Forest for the preservation of biodiversity in Nigeria is profound.   As well as a significant population of forest elephants, the Omo Forest is also home to the critically endangered Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee and White-throated Guenon Monkey.  

In addition to its importance for its resident wildlife, the Omo Forest is also an important watershed regulating the flow of the Omo and Osun Rivers into the Lagos Lagoon, helping to prevent flooding in the city of Lagos.

The Problem

The forests of Omo have been logged repeatedly without a management plan. In the 1970s over 40,000 ha of the reserve was cleared to make way for Gmelina pulpwood plantation. In recent years, the biggest problem is the uncontrolled expansion of farms by illegal migrants.

As a result of illegal farming, even though the forest reserve covers 130,000 ha, less than half of this is natural forest, the rest being Gmelina plantation and farmland. In recent months, due to the expansion of illegal farms, half of the elephants left the reserve looking for places where they could live undisturbed by humans and came info conflict with them. A villager was killed a few months ago by a forest elephant.

The Solutions:

The creation of a wildlife sanctuary that is properly protected and managed could help reduce human elephant conflicts. It could also be a huge drat for tourists, since it is located so close to Lagos and could become a big revenue earner for the local communities. 

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What we provide

The African Forest Elephant Foundation is supporting boots on the ground with anti-poaching and bio-monitoring equipment and working with a number of stakeholders to create a wildlife sanctuary for forest elephants within the Omo forest reserve.

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The Future

The African Forest Elephant Foundation is working with Africa Nature Investors (ANI) Foundation; the Nigerian Conservation Foundation; and Paignton Zoo to create a 55,000 ha Wildlife Sanctuary within the Omo Forest Reserve.

Guardians will ensure that the rangers protecting the wildlife sanctuary will be fully equipped to conduct anti-poaching and bio-monitoring patrols safely and effectively.  Guardians will also support the construction of strategically located ranger posts to control access into the reserve and thus reduce poaching, logging and illegal farming. 


Help Forest Elephants Today

Forest elephants need our help. Find out how you can make a difference.

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