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Biodiversity Conservation and Community Participation in Kainji Lake National Park, Nigeria

Abimbola O. Adetoro, M.S. Lawal and Adetola Jenyo-Oni

This study examined the participation of communities in the biodiversity conservation of Kanji Lake National Park (KLNP) with a view to improving the relationship between the community and the park. Structured questionnaire were used for the study. Four villages, two each from the two sectors of the park (Borgu and Zugurma) that makes up the human communities in close proximity and with vast population growth were purposively selected for the study. The communities studied were Wawa, Bussa, Ibbi and Kaima. A total of one hundred and thirty-two questionnaires were administered randomly to the respondents. Retrieved data were analysed using descriptive method (pie and bar charts and frequency distribution) and chi-square statistic was used to elicit the relationship between community participation and conversation in KLNP. The result obtained shows that park effort in sustainable conservation is far from being excellent but improving. Challenges facing the park were mostly based on alienation of the communities from active participation. 70.2% of respondents were of the view that community involvement in conservation activity is good for KLNP. The study revealed, that 64.0% of respondent from communities agreed that park-assisted projects were put up for the community solely by park authority without understanding their feelings and needs, this shows that there is a clear distinction between imposed park assisted community development project and community needed projects. Respondents view on stage at which community participation should be sought in KLNP indicated, decision making 26.20%, implementation stage 15.07%, monitoring and evaluation 20.63% while 38.10% of the respondents believed community should be involved in all the above stages. All the identified barriers to community participation in KLNP such as bureaucracy, poor sensitization and mobilization, taboo/custom and poverty should be removed or reduced greatly, if full support for park is being expected from the communities. Host communities are valuable asset which must be carefully incorporated into management strategies for successful conservation programme.

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