Thursday, 5 July 2012


Okomu national park which is formerly known as Okomu wildlife Sanctuary is a forest block that covers 1,082km2 land square kilometers. The park is in Ovia South- west Local Government Area of Edo state. It is 60 kilometer north –west of Benin City and it also holds a small fragment of the rich forest that covers the region where the last habitats of endangered species are found.
Historically Okomu national park holds a remnant of the Nigeria lowland forests that has formed a continuous 50-100 km wide belt from River Niger west to Dahomey Gap in Benin and to the south and southeast the forest is being separated from the coast by mangrove and swamp forests, while to the north it merged into the Guinean Forest-Savanna Mosaic eco-region. The Park has an extensive layer of charcoal and pottery below the forest, indicating that it has been cleared before and then regenerated over the last 700 years, 200 km² wildlife sanctuaries, a rainforest ecosystem which is the habitat for many endangered species of flora and fauna, was gazetted from the Okomu Forest Reserve in 1935. 
By the start of the 20th century the forest survived only in disconnected blocks, which is under intense pressure from human activity. A survey of southwestern forests in Nigeria in 1982 led to a recommendation for a determined effort to conserve the sanctuary. The state government formally defined the sanctuary in 1986, with an area of just 66 km2. The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) took over management of the sanctuary in 1987, and extended it to 114 km2 by adding a one-mile wide buffer zone. NCF has diverted their attention toward assisting migrant farmers in the surrounding areas, so that the villagers will find alternative means of living without encroaching on the forest. In 1997 it was discovered that several NCF employees had been involved in illegal logging within the sanctuary. In May 1999 the sanctuary was taken over by the National Parks Service for proper management and guide of the park.
Okomu National park has diverse fauna, with 33 species of mammals including African buffalo and endangered African Forest Elephant, White-throated Guenon, chimpanzees, Other animals found in the park include Dwarf crocodiles, Red river hog, Sitatunga, Warthog, Civet cat, Maxwell's Duiker, Grass cutter, Mona monkey, Thomas's galago and Tree pangolin.  
Birds are not left out because over 150 species of birds is found in the park which include Angolan Pitta, Grey Parrot, Wrinkled Hornbill, Fish Eagle, hawks, woodpeckers, Great Owl, Grey Hornbill, Cattle Egret, Black-casqued Hornbill, Yellow-casqued Hornbill, Sabine's Spinetail, Cassin's Spinetail, Black Spinetail, White-breasted Negrofinch, Chestnut-breasted Negrofinch, Pale-fronted Negrofinch and Yellow-throated Cuckoo.
Another distinctive feature of the park is the Okomu River that runs through it. It is from the river that the park derives its name. Though there are other rivers and streams, such as Osse River and Arakhuan stream within its space, the one that appears most captivating and holds potential for a number of water leisure activities, is Okomu River.
 One thing a tourist or even a first time visitor to the park would not forget in a hurry is the rich flora and ecosystem of the park. As a rainforest park, God has endowed the park with very rich and awe-inspiring flora. The beauty of the park is something that beckons at you the moment you walk into the wild. The air, the green luscious expanse of wild that stretches ahead of you is most luxuriating and captivating

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