The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has established partnership with the National Park Service to curtail illegal activities by hunters, farmers and timber operators in Kainji National Park.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum in Borgu Council of Niger State, NCF Director General, Dr. Joseph Onoja, said the interactive forum was aimed at implementing a series of programmes with management of the park to conserve its resources.

Onoja stated that the foundation has set aside different intervention schemes for the host communities housing the park to encourage stakeholders in the protection and conservation of species in the park.

The Director General, who was represented by NCF’s Senior Manager Species Programme, Dr. Stella Ogbe, said interacting with the locals enabled the foundation to identify challenges bedevilling their livelihood, adding that the foundation will think of sustainable ways useful to them.

He disclosed that the forum is supported by International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Save our Species and co-funded by the European Union.

He said: “For women, we are planning to assist them with energy-saving materials and in some cases, we can organise into associations and see how we can apply for grants for them. This will limit their dependency on the National Park, which is no longer sustainable.”

During the interaction with the women, they disclosed that over decades, the benefits they enjoy from the park have declined. Hunters also revealed that the wildlife resources have also declined.

They, however, added that they spent three to four days in the bush without result and this was due to the fact that the park has been covered with grasses.

The Director General added that the foundation is considering alternative sources of livelihood for the hunters such as rearing of animals.

Earlier, the Kainji National Park Desk Officer, Usman Mohammed Buni, urged stakeholders to support objectives of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation aimed at providing them with alternative means of livelihood.

He said that activities such as farming, hunting, felling of trees and grasses in prohibited areas in the park are harmful to the health of the environment.

Buni, however, assured the over 300 participants that the National Park management would protect their interests.

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Bala Yahaya