The Managing Director, Cross River State Tourism Bureau, Mr. Utsu John Atsu, has declared that the benefits derived from contributing to the degradation of the ecosystem, are temporal, noting that an ecosystem destroyed, is an ecosystem lost forever.
Mr. Atsu revealed this hard truth when he paid a courtesy visit on the Regional Coordinator, South South, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Mr. Emmanuel Owan, at his office, Marian Hill, Calabar, as a major ecological conservation stakeholder, to collaborate on ways to diversify and market the Bureau’s “The Destination” mandate, through ecotourism.
The Managing Director said it is unfortunate that abusing nature and its elements that cater to our everyday needs has become a norm, and if not nipped in the bud, possess potentially devastating consequences for the climate, livelihoods and properties of everybody.
Mr. Atsu further said the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has afforded the Bureau the opportunity to look inwards, to find creative and innovative ways to catalyze economic recovery through sustainable tourism by cutting down the constant consumption of resources to conservation, to enable the profiting from the state’s rainforests especially through the Cross River Gorillas, in line with international ecotourism best practices.
The Regional Coordinator, South-South, Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Mr. Emmanuel Owan, in his response lauded the Bureau for the sustained synergy between both establishments, while praying that the ecological advocacy plans of both the Bureau and NCF, will come to fruition.
Mr. Owan, hinted that the Cross River Rainforest, which is of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world and the last remaining in Nigeria, is facing a decline because of the gross abuse by the government, public and private sectors due to activities associated with illegal logging.
“Akamkpa, Boki and Ikom Local Government Areas, each see nothing less of 15 trucks of timber leaving their forests daily. The noises from the chainsaws cause great distress to the animals which leads to migration and as they migrate, they are faced with the dangers of hunger, sickness and death”, he added.
Commending the present administration for the introduction of the “Green Carnival”, the Regional Coordinator, said policies should be put in place to support and monitor the afforestation and reforestation of deforested areas and to also breathe down heavily on the necks of illegal loggers.
He further called on the Cross River State Government to consider the revival of the Becheve Canopy Walkway, Obudu Mountain Resort, pay attention to the Elephants in Boki and Monkeys in Ikom, that are hunted for local delicacies, invest in the preservation Vultures, also known as nature’s clean-up crew, saying that they add immense value to ecotourism.
Both men also discussed other ways to get ecotourism on the front burner of the State’s tourism subsector projections.
By: Achiane Adams