Conservation Attitudes and Challenges: A Study of Forest Elephants In Southern Nigeria Forests

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Lagos, Nigeria

2 Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, University of Lagos, Nigeria

3 Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, Nigeria


Elephant populations in Southern Nigeria are small and most of them exist in forest islands isolated by farms, monoculture plantations, and human habitations. Their close proximity to communities often results in Human-Elephant Conflicts (HEC). Awareness of, and attitudes towards the conservation of elephants in four elephant ranges in Southern Nigeria were determined using field observations, questionnaires, and interviews. The major threats to the species’ sustainability were development in and around the forests (24.1%), logging (22.0%) and hunting activities (20.0%). Incidences of HEC as a result of crop-raiding/damage, non-payment of compensation to farmers whose crops were raided and perceived highhandedness of protected area staff were some of the factors responsible for the negative attitude of the respondents to elephant conservation. Conservation education, alternative means of livelihood and effective mitigation methods could help change the attitude of communities and also serve as a means for sustainable conservation strategy of these relict elephant populations