Facts About National Parks In Nigeria

Nigeria is a tropical country with a total land mass of about 932,768 km2, and a coastline of 960km along the Atlantic Ocean.

With an estimated population of about 182 Million issued by the National Population Commission and 191 million by the United Nation’s estimates.

With the largest number of black race in the World and a Nation of diverse culture with 250 ethnic groups and 400 distinct languages, in which Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo are they most dominant groups.

Nigeria is blessed with rich and unique array of ecosystems, and a great variety of wild fauna and flora. This rich natural endowment is a product of the climatic variations resulting into various north-south gradations of habitats and ecosystems.

The habitats support more than 1,340 species of animals among which is 274 mammalian species, making it the 8th highest in Africa.

From biological inventories, about 885 species of birds, over 109 species of amphibians and 135 species of reptiles have so far been identified.

There are about 900 species of which 60 species are within the wetlands and freshwater ecosystems in Nigeria.

The Nigeria National Parks are they habitations that hold and flourish these species under the control of the Nigeria National Park Service (NNPS).

The organization is responsible for preserving, enhancing, protecting and managing vegetation and wild animals in the national parks.

Habitats loss is currently the major threat poised to national parks, which is a major problem the National Park Service is facing.

Kainji was the first national park to be established by the then Olusegun Obasanjo military regime in 1979.

The National Parks Governing Board and five new National Parks were set up in 1991.

Yankari Game Reserve was upgraded to a national park in 1992 and handed over to the Bauchi State government in June 2006.

The parks cover a total land area of approximately 20,156 km2, or about 3% of Nigeria’s total land area.

The Chad Basin national park covers 2, 258 km2 and is located in parts of Borno and Yobe States.

Cross River national park covers 4, 000 km2 and is located in Cross River State.

Gashaka Gumti national park covers 6, 731 km2 and is located in parts of Taraba and Adamawa states.

Kainji national park covers 5, 382 km2, located in parts of Niger and Kwara States.

Kamuku national park covers 1, 121 km2 and is located in Kaduna state.

Okomu covers 181 km2, located in Edo state.

Old Oyo national park covers 2, 512 km2, located in both Oyo and Kwara states.

Yankari national park covers 2, 244 km2 and located in Bauchi state.

Climate is the major influencer of vegetation in these parks, which can either be a positive or a negative effect.

From the North, where the Chad Basin and Yankari national parks reside, there is a distinct hot and dry seasons; temperature can reach up to 45oC between the months of March and May.

Some parts of Chad Basin National Park, for example receive only about 400mm of rainfall or even less, positioning it in the sahel zone.

The longest of the rainy season is from late May to September (in some seasons early October) of every year.

Southward, rainfall gradually increases and vegetation becomes lush. Thorny scrubs give way to Savanna grassland.

Thus part of Gashaka-Gumti, Kainji Lake and Old Oyo National Parks fall largely within the Guinea Savanna Zone.

Towards the coast, temperatures averages 5oC to 10oC (or less). Here the rains fall mostly heavily between April and July, peaking in July and September.

Rainfall in Cross River and Okomu National Parks, for instance can exceed 400mm, and supports the growth of tropical rainforest.

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