Nigeria Biodiversity: Animal and Plant Species and What Is Under Threat

todayDecember 11, 2023


Nigeria is renowned for its remarkable biodiversity, boasting over 5,000 recorded species of plants, 22,090 species of animals, including insects, and 889 species of birds. The country’s diverse ecosystems support a wide variety of wildlife, including threatened species like African elephants, pangolins, white-throated monkeys, yellow-casqued hornbills, and chimpanzees. However, Nigeria’s biodiversity is under constant threat from excessive logging, uncontrolled farming, and poaching.

Key Takeaways

  • Nigeria boasts an impressive array of plant and animal species, encompassing over 5,000 plants, 22,090 animals, and 889 birds.
  • Threatened species in Nigeria include African elephants, pangolins, white-throated monkeys, yellow-casqued hornbills, and chimpanzees.
  • Excessive logging, uncontrolled farming, and poaching pose significant threats to Nigeria’s biodiversity.

The Importance of Conservation Efforts in Nigeria

To protect Nigeria’s precious biodiversity, conservation efforts are crucial. Nigeria is home to a diverse range of wildlife and abundant natural resources, making it imperative to preserve the country’s unique ecosystems for future generations. Efforts in conservation not only safeguard endangered species but also ensure the sustainability of Nigeria’s natural heritage.

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) plays a pivotal role in wildlife preservation in Nigeria. In collaboration with the government, the NCF has designated 550 square kilometers of the Omo Forest Reserve as a conservation zone. This reserve serves as a sanctuary for various endangered species, including forest elephants, whose populations have dwindled over the years due to poaching and habitat loss.

To combat these challenges, the NCF has implemented an innovative strategy by hiring former hunters as forest rangers. These reformed individuals now dedicate their expertise to protecting the Omo Forest Reserve from deforestation and poaching. This approach not only provides employment opportunities but also generates awareness about the importance of conserving Nigeria’s natural resources.

This image showcases the beauty and diversity of Nigerian wildlife, reminding us of the need to preserve these species and their habitats for future generations.

By focusing on wildlife preservation and sustainable practices, Nigerian conservation efforts aim to strike a balance between human development and environmental protection. Conservation plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, ensuring the provision of essential ecosystem services and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

In summary, the importance of conservation efforts in Nigeria cannot be overstated. Through initiatives led by organizations like the NCF, the preservation of Nigeria’s natural resources and wildlife becomes a collective responsibility. By prioritizing the protection of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources, Nigeria can secure a vibrant and sustainable future for both its people and its natural heritage.

Key Policies and Governance Approaches for Biodiversity Conservation

Nigeria is committed to conserving its biodiversity through international treaties and conventions. The country has a revised National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2016-2020) that identifies and addresses threats to biodiversity. The Nigerian government has also launched its first-ever National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime (2022-2026), focusing on evidence-based approaches and international best practices. Additionally, efforts to enforce a ban on illegal timber trade and the existence of biodiversity-related legislations and policies further support biodiversity conservation in Nigeria.

Biodiversity conservation in Nigeria

“Conserving biodiversity is not only a moral imperative but also essential for the long-term sustainable development of Nigeria. Through our continued commitment to international agreements and the implementation of comprehensive strategies and policies, we aim to safeguard our valuable natural resources and protect the diverse wildlife that calls Nigeria home.”

– Dr. Samuel Etudaiye, Minister of Environment and Conservation, Nigeria

The Nigerian National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan serves as a roadmap for biodiversity conservation, outlining specific actions to be taken to mitigate threats. It focuses on habitat restoration, protected area management, species conservation, and engaging local communities in conservation efforts. By addressing the key drivers of biodiversity loss and promoting sustainable practices, Nigeria aims to conserve its unique flora and fauna for future generations.

The National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime complements the biodiversity conservation efforts by addressing the illegal wildlife trade, poaching, and deforestation. The strategy emphasizes evidence-based approaches, strengthening law enforcement, enhancing interagency collaboration, and raising public awareness. It also aligns with international best practices to combat wildlife and forest crimes, contributing to global efforts in preserving biodiversity.

Enforcement activities to combat illegal timber trade play a crucial role in protecting Nigeria’s forests and biodiversity. The Nigerian government has implemented measures to ensure the sustainable management of forestry resources, prevent illegal logging, and promote responsible timber trade. By enforcing strict regulations and penalties, Nigeria aims to curb deforestation and maintain the integrity of its forests.

Furthermore, the Nigerian government has established various biodiversity-related legislations and policies. These include the Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act, Forest Reserves (Protection) Regulations, and Wildlife Conservation and Management Act. These legal frameworks provide the necessary tools to regulate wildlife trade, protect critical habitats, and enforce conservation measures in Nigeria.

Governance Approaches for Biodiversity Conservation

Biodiversity Policy Year
National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2020
National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime 2022-2026
Ban on Illegal Timber Trade Ongoing
Endangered Species (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act 1985
Forest Reserves (Protection) Regulations 1957
Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 1979

These policies and governance approaches demonstrate Nigeria’s commitment to biodiversity conservation and the importance placed on protecting the country’s natural heritage. The concerted efforts to address threats, enforce regulations, and promote sustainable practices offer hope for the preservation of Nigeria’s rich biodiversity for future generations.

Successes and Challenges in Biodiversity Conservation

Nigeria has made significant progress in the conservation of its rich biodiversity. The country’s commitment to international conventions, formulation of robust policies and laws, and implementation of various conservation initiatives have contributed to the success in preserving its natural heritage.

Efforts to protect Nigeria’s biodiversity have been commendable. However, several challenges persist, threatening the sustainability of these conservation achievements.

Poor law enforcement remains a significant obstacle to biodiversity conservation in Nigeria. Insufficient resources, corruption, and limited capacity hinder the effective implementation of existing laws, allowing wildlife crime to persist unabated.

Nigeria’s national parks and reserves, designed to safeguard critical habitats and vulnerable species, face constant threats from poaching and illegal wildlife trade. These activities pose a constant danger to the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

The lack of institutional cohesion and coordination among government agencies involved in biodiversity management has also been a challenge. This disconnection hinders effective decision-making and compromises the efficiency of conservation efforts.

Insufficient capacity in managing biodiversity-related portfolios further exacerbates the challenges. Inadequate training and limited resources hamper the ability to monitor and mitigate threats to Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna.

Low public awareness and engagement pose a significant obstacle to biodiversity conservation. Without the active participation and support of local communities, it becomes challenging to implement and sustain effective conservation practices.

Addressing these challenges is crucial for the long-term preservation of Nigeria’s biodiversity. Efforts to strengthen law enforcement, enhance institutional coordination, invest in capacity building, and raise public awareness are fundamental to overcoming these obstacles.

Threats to biodiversity in Nigeria

By addressing these challenges head-on, Nigeria can build upon its successes and ensure the continued conservation of its magnificent biodiversity.

Threats to Nigeria’s Biodiversity

Nigeria’s biodiversity is under significant threat from various factors that jeopardize the delicate balance of its ecosystems. Three key threats that loom over Nigeria’s natural heritage are deforestation, over-exploitation of resources, and the impact of climate change. These threats have severe implications for the country’s diverse flora and fauna, necessitating urgent action and sustainable practices to mitigate their damaging effects.

1. Deforestation in Nigeria

Deforestation is a pressing concern in Nigeria, driven by forest clearance for farming, urbanization, and infrastructure development. The rapid expansion of agricultural land and the extraction of timber resources have led to the loss of vast forested areas, disrupting vital habitats for numerous species. The consequences of deforestation extend beyond biodiversity loss, contributing to soil erosion, depleted water sources, and increased carbon emissions.

2. Over-exploitation of Resources in Nigeria

The over-exploitation of resources poses a significant risk to Nigeria’s biodiversity. Unsustainable hunting and poaching practices threaten iconic species such as elephants, gorillas, and pangolins. The uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources, including logging and mining, further degrades habitats and disrupts the delicate ecological balance. Without proper regulation and sustainable practices, the depletion of resources and the subsequent ripple effect on ecosystems will continue to imperil Nigeria’s biodiversity.

3. Climate Change Impact in Nigeria

Climate change is not only a global concern but also intimately linked to Nigeria’s biodiversity. Rising temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, and extreme weather events have severe consequences for habitats and ecosystems. The altered climate conditions disrupt the natural cycles of flora and fauna, forcing them to adapt or face extinction. Nigeria’s rich biodiversity is especially vulnerable to these changes, and without effective climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, the survival of many species is at stake.

Additional Threats

In addition to the aforementioned threats, Nigeria’s biodiversity faces other significant challenges. Habitat loss due to expanding agriculture and rapid urbanization further diminishes available natural spaces. Desertification, driven by unsustainable land use practices and climate change, exacerbates the degradation of ecosystems. Moreover, the illegal trade in endangered species presents a significant challenge, undermining conservation efforts and driving the decline of iconic wildlife such as elephants and rhinoceroses.

To safeguard Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna and ensure the long-term preservation of its natural heritage, addressing these threats must be a top priority. It requires the implementation of sustainable practices, the enforcement of regulations, and the active engagement of all stakeholders, from local communities to global organizations.

Initiatives and Development Plans for Biodiversity Conservation

Nigeria is actively implementing various initiatives and development plans to protect and conserve its rich biodiversity. These projects are essential for ensuring the preservation of species and their habitats, promoting sustainable practices, and safeguarding the future of Nigeria’s natural heritage.

One notable initiative is the establishment of a sanctuary for the critically endangered Cross River Gorilla. This project focuses on preserving the gorilla’s habitat and implementing conservation strategies to support the species’ long-term survival. By creating a protected area specifically for the Cross River Gorilla, Nigeria aims to ensure the preservation of this unique primate and raise awareness about the importance of its conservation.

Another significant effort is centered around the cocoa value chain in Nigeria. This initiative seeks to strengthen the cocoa industry while promoting climate-smart agricultural practices and biodiversity preservation. By adopting sustainable farming techniques, Nigeria aims to minimize the environmental impact of cocoa production and ensure the conservation of biodiversity within the cocoa-growing regions.

Furthermore, Nigeria is actively involved in the restoration and sustainable management of the Niger Delta Mangrove, a vital ecosystem that supports a diverse range of species. The mangroves play a crucial role in protecting the coastline, providing habitats for numerous marine and terrestrial organisms, and mitigating climate change through carbon sequestration. The restoration efforts aim to rehabilitate degraded mangrove areas and promote sustainable practices that support the long-term health and resilience of this important ecosystem.

These initiatives highlight Nigeria’s commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. By implementing these projects and development plans, Nigeria is actively contributing to the long-term preservation of its unique flora and fauna, safeguarding important habitats, and promoting a harmonious relationship between nature and human activities.

Biodiversity conservation projects in Nigeria

Governance and Enforcement Challenges

While Nigeria has policies and legislations in place for biodiversity conservation, the enforcement of these laws remains a significant challenge. Weak institutional cohesion, inadequate capacity in managing biodiversity issues, and low public awareness contribute to the difficulty in effectively combating wildlife crime. There is a need for improved law enforcement, increased investments in biodiversity departments, and enhanced public awareness to ensure the successful governance and enforcement of conservation measures in Nigeria.

The Urgent Need for Public Awareness and Participation

Public awareness and participation are vital in safeguarding Nigeria’s precious biodiversity. It is crucial to educate the public about the importance of conserving the country’s natural resources and the severe consequences of biodiversity loss. By fostering a sense of responsibility and ownership among the public, Nigeria can create a collective effort towards preserving its unique flora and fauna.

One effective way to raise awareness is by engaging with local communities, especially farmers, who play a significant role in land use practices. Promoting sustainable farming methods, such as agroforestry and organic farming, can help mitigate threats to biodiversity. Additionally, involving farmers in reforestation efforts can restore habitats and enhance ecosystem resilience.

By emphasizing the interconnectedness between human well-being and biodiversity conservation, Nigeria can inspire individuals to take action. Educational campaigns, public seminars, and interactive workshops can increase awareness and empower communities to protect their natural heritage.

Awareness of biodiversity conservation in Nigeria

The image above serves as a visual reminder of the importance of public awareness in preserving Nigeria’s biodiversity. The lush green landscape represents the diverse ecosystems that need our protection.

The Role of International Cooperation in Biodiversity Conservation

Nigeria’s commitment to international treaties and conventions demonstrates its recognition of the global importance of biodiversity conservation. Collaborating with international organizations, sharing experiences and best practices, and accessing funding and technical support are vital for Nigeria to effectively conserve its biodiversity. International cooperation also facilitates knowledge exchange and emphasizes the interconnectedness of global conservation efforts in safeguarding the world’s natural heritage.

International Collaboration in Biodiversity Conservation

“International collaboration is vital for the success of biodiversity conservation. By working together, countries can pool resources, share knowledge, and implement effective strategies. Nigeria’s commitment to international treaties demonstrates its dedication to preserving its rich biodiversity and contributing to global efforts for biodiversity preservation.”

The Impact of Biodiversity Loss on Ecosystem Services and Climate Change

Biodiversity loss in Nigeria has far-reaching implications for ecosystem services and climate change mitigation. When forests are destroyed, not only do species lose their habitats, but valuable ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and regulation of water resources are also compromised.

Preserving biodiversity in Nigeria is crucial for maintaining healthy ecosystems and mitigating climate change. By recognizing the ecological value of biodiversity, Nigeria can contribute to global efforts in combating climate change and sustaining the planet.

Ecosystem services in Nigeria

Ecosystem Services Importance
Carbon Sequestration Helps mitigates climate change by storing carbon dioxide and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Water Regulation Manages water flow, prevents flooding, and improves water quality for agriculture and drinking purposes.
Pollination Critical for plant reproduction, crop production, and maintaining a diverse range of flora.
Soil Fertility Supports agriculture by providing essential nutrients for plant growth and maintaining soil health.
Erosion Control Prevents soil erosion, protecting land and reducing sedimentation in water bodies.

Investing in the Future of Nigeria’s Biodiversity

Preserving Nigeria’s rich biodiversity requires a proactive approach through sustainable practices, adequate funding, and environmental education. By implementing these measures, we can ensure the long-term conservation of Nigeria’s unique flora and fauna.

One key aspect of investing in the future of biodiversity is promoting sustainable land use. Encouraging practices such as agroforestry, organic farming, and responsible mining can help minimize habitat destruction and mitigate the negative impacts of human activities on the environment.

Supporting conservation initiatives is another vital component of protecting Nigeria’s biodiversity. By allocating sufficient funding and resources to conservation organizations, national parks, and wildlife reserves, we can actively contribute to the preservation of endangered species and their habitats.

Empowering local communities is essential for the sustainable management of Nigeria’s biodiversity. By involving communities in decision-making processes and providing them with training and incentives, we can create a sense of ownership and responsibility towards protecting the environment.

Biodiversity conservation funding

To ensure the success of biodiversity conservation efforts, adequate funding is crucial. Governments, international organizations, and philanthropic foundations play a vital role in providing the financial resources needed for effective conservation projects, research, and enforcement of environmental laws.

Furthermore, environmental education programs are key to raising awareness and fostering a culture of stewardship among Nigerians. By incorporating biodiversity conservation into school curricula and conducting public awareness campaigns, we can enhance understanding of the importance of preserving Nigeria’s natural heritage.

Investing in the future of Nigeria’s biodiversity is not only essential for the well-being of ecosystems and wildlife but also for the sustainable development of the country. By adopting sustainable practices, securing biodiversity conservation funding, and promoting environmental education, Nigeria can safeguard its natural resources and leave a vibrant legacy for future generations.

Conclusion on Nigeria Biodiversity

Nigeria’s rich biodiversity faces multiple threats, including deforestation, over-exploitation, and the impacts of climate change. However, the country has demonstrated commendable efforts in conservation through the implementation of initiatives and development plans. To ensure the long-term preservation of Nigeria’s diverse flora and fauna, it is crucial to overcome challenges such as weak enforcement, institutional cohesion, and lack of public awareness.

International cooperation plays a vital role in safeguarding Nigeria’s natural resources. By fostering collaboration with global organizations and sharing experiences and best practices, Nigeria can effectively conserve its biodiversity. Investing in sustainable practices, adequate funding, and environmental education is key to secure a vibrant natural heritage for future generations.

Together, through a collective effort, Nigeria can protect its diverse ecosystems, safeguard endangered species, and mitigate the impact of human activities on its biodiversity. By valuing and preserving its natural resources, Nigeria can create a sustainable future and contribute to the global efforts in biodiversity conservation.


What is Nigeria’s biodiversity like?

Nigeria is known for its rich biodiversity, with over 5,000 recorded species of plants, 22,090 species of animals, including insects, and 889 species of birds.

What are some examples of threatened species in Nigeria?

Some examples of threatened species in Nigeria include African elephants, pangolins, white-throated monkeys, yellow-casqued hornbills, and chimpanzees.

What are the main threats to Nigeria’s biodiversity?

Nigeria’s biodiversity is under threat from excessive logging, uncontrolled farming, and poaching.

What conservation efforts are being made in Nigeria?

Conservation efforts in Nigeria include the designation of conservation zones, hiring former hunters as forest rangers, and the implementation of biodiversity-related legislations and policies.

What are the key policies and governance approaches for biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Nigeria has a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, as well as a National Strategy to Combat Wildlife and Forest Crime, to address threats to biodiversity and enforce conservation measures.

What are some successes and challenges in biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Nigeria has made progress in protecting its biodiversity through commitment to international conventions and various conservation initiatives. However, challenges include poor law enforcement, wildlife crime, and threats to national parks.

What are the main threats to Nigeria’s biodiversity?

Nigeria’s biodiversity faces threats such as deforestation, over-exploitation of resources, climate change, habitat loss, desertification, and illegal wildlife trade.

What initiatives and development plans are in place for biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Nigeria has initiatives to establish sanctuaries for endangered species, strengthen the cocoa value chain, and restore the Niger Delta Mangrove ecosystem.

What are the governance and enforcement challenges in biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

Challenges include weak law enforcement, institutional cohesion, and public awareness, which hinder effective conservation measures.

Why is public awareness and participation important in biodiversity conservation?

Public awareness and participation are crucial for raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation and engaging local communities in sustainable practices.

What is the role of international cooperation in biodiversity conservation in Nigeria?

International cooperation allows for knowledge exchange, access to funding and technical support, and emphasizes the interconnectedness of global conservation efforts.

What is the impact of biodiversity loss on ecosystem services and climate change?

Biodiversity loss compromises vital ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and regulation of water resources, and has implications for climate change mitigation.

How can Nigeria invest in the future of its biodiversity?

Nigeria can invest in sustainable practices, adequate funding, and environmental education to preserve its biodiversity and secure a sustainable future.

Source Links

Written by: Jackie De Burca

Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *