People in Cross River State’s Boki and Akamkpa Local Government Areas have expressed concern about roaming gorillas and elephants harming their lives and means of subsistence, which is primarily farming.
Members of the community highlighted their concerns on Friday at a workshop in Calabar on Watershed Preservation for Safe and Sustainable Water Supply, claiming that older women and children are the most vulnerable to the threats.
The program was funded by the United States Agency for International Development and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), according to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN).
While the animals were occasionally friendly, Mr Obeten Erasmus, a community leader in Boki, noted that they nevertheless posed substantial threats to the residents.
He warned that if the animals continued to destroy the community, residents would be forced to retaliate.
“They have destroyed some of our farmlands, leaving our entire efforts in ruins, if not checked, the people would start taking revenge on them.
“It is becoming regular for gorillas to leave their habitat in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary in Boki and saunter into nearby communities in search of food and could not trace their way back,” he said.
Addressing the issue, Dr Inaoyom Imong, WSC Director, Cross River Landscape, appealed to the communities not to retaliate.
“Don’t kill the animals. Elephants and gorillas are facing extinction, going by their few numbers. No one will be happy to see these animals killed as they are under protection,” Imong said.
He urged the government to take action to protect the animals, claiming that the number of gorillas and elephants in the area has been increasing.
“It is the government that ought to ensure that the National Parks in the state which are gazzetted as protected areas are held as such,” he added.
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