Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), in collaborating with Nigeria National Park Service, Cross River State Forestry Commission, and the Conservation Association of the Mbe Mountains (CAMM), have trained 60 forest rangers and guards to strengthen the protection of the Cross River National Park, Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and the Mbe Mountains Community Forest.
Cross River hosts about 50 per cent of the remaining tropical rainforest in Nigeria and is recognised as a biodiversity hotspot.
The forests of the state are home to a number of rare and endangered wildlife, including the Cross River gorilla, Nigeria-Cameroun chimpanzee, drill, forest elephant and pangolins. Due to weak law enforcement, forests and wildlife are declining rapidly, hence the need to protect the area and the wildlife.
WCS Country Director, Andrew Dunn, in a statement made available to some newsmen in Calabar at the weekend, said from November 3 to December 16, 2021, the WCS, in collaboration with others, organised a refresher ranger training course for the rangers at the Erokut Gate Park Entry for Cross River National Park and Cross River State Forestry Commission rangers as well as CAMM eco-guards, which was funded by the European Union, Rainforest Trust and JRS Biodiversity Foundation.
Recalled that the Cross River State privatization council said the Obudu ranch resort, the Tinapa leisure resort and 32 other assets belonging to the Cross River State government would be privatised.
The Chairman of the state privatisation council, John Odo, said this few months ago in Calabar, while receiving the report of the technical committee set up by the council on privatisation.
Some of the assets to be privatised, Odo said, include the yet-to-be completed superhighway, deep seaport, cocoa processing factory, rice seedling factory, the garment factory, amongst others.
He said while most of the assets have been completed, only two percent of others, like the superhighway and deep seaport were still in its infantile stages.