Professor Edem Eniang has called on the Federal Government and the government of Akwa Ibom state to look into developing wildlife-based eco-tourism sub-sector.
Eniang who is a Professor of Wildlife Resources Management, Herpetology and International Management Consultant University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, on Friday, said Nigeria is losing billions of Dollars and the neglect of the sector has scared away investors from the country.
He decried the rate at which mountain gorillas are being hunted as bush-meat and their habitat destroyed.
He said; “Nigeria is losing billions of Dollars for not making conscious efforts to develop the wildlife-based eco-tourism sub-sector. In Uganda, an average of one thousand dollars is paid per person on the average to view mountain gorillas for just an hour.
“But Nigeria has a unique species of gorilla, that is, the Cross River gorilla found in four localities of Cross River State namely; Afi mountain wildlife sanctuary, Mbe mountain, Okwangwo sector of Cross River National Park and Obudu escarpment near the Obudu Cattle Ranch/Resort though down at the moment.
“So what conscious effort has the relevant governments/agencies made at the moment to generate eco-tourism traffic of the country based on this critically endangered great ape?
“We must appreciate the fact that this all-important species of Ape have been given to us as heritage, rather people are shooting them and destroying their habitats instead of conserving them to generate much-needed revenue as done in some parts of East and Central Africa.”
He added that a Japanese Primate Research Organization had shunned Nigeria and West Africa which has rare species of apes but had invested in African countries like Uganda, Congo DRC and Rwanda for up to 60 years.