Humans have depended their survival on wildlife and forest resources for so long. Their utilization of fauna and flora species includes basic daily needs as fetching firewood & shrubs, tree bark for herbs, fruits, mushrooms, leaves & vegetables for soup, rodents & grass cutters as sources of protein amongst others. These forms of wildlife use has been consistent with rural livelihoods especially amongst support communities due to their low economic lifestyle and poor standard of living.

However, overexploitation in the use of these resources have began to set in. With the incessant increase in human population which has associated process like habitat loss and fragmentation, wildlife (including flora and fauna) have been put at a disadvantage. Having suffered irresponsible use, exploitations and illegal poaching, they are exposed to possible extinction if they are not sustained for perpetuity.

It is therefore important that focus is placed on how to divert the attention of local users to alternative livelihood methods in order to be able to safeguard the future existence of wildlife. This is why the Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative held an ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD TRAINING PROGRAM FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES AROUND EMERALD FOREST RESERVE ON MARCH 3, 2021, IN COMMEMORATION OF THE WORLD WILDLIFE DAY 2021.
Twenty trainees from neighboring communities whom are citizens of Togo, Benin Republic, and Nigeria were trained on the modern and best practices for growing maize and cassava crops to yield maximum profits. The purpose of the program is to empower local community members around Emerald Forest Reserve to maximize their livelihoods through sustainable farming practices, while reducing the utility pressure on wildlife, in order to preserve the ecological, cultural, social and economic importance of wildlife resources for perpetuity.
All trainees were given a pack of maize seeds cultivated and cassava stalks which will be delivered to them upon the start of rain so that it can thrive well in their soil with suitable weather. The community leader of all the communities present at the training expressed gratitudes, stating that they have been awaiting and looking forward to such a training. He acknowledged that lot of inventions and improvements have been done in the agriculture sector which they are not aware of until the training took place. He also emphasized that he is assured that all trainees know the value of the incentives they have received as it will cost them a lot of money to get such by themselves, thus they will put them to good use.
Conclusively, the training program increased the enthusiasm of all trainees to further support forthcoming wildlife conservation efforts having realized the essence of sustaining a healthy synchronous relationship between people and nature. We appreciate the Management of Emerald Forest Reserve and representatives, Community Head and the entire team of IITA Forest Management department for their contribution towards the success of this life-changing program.
We are fulfilled to have impacted the lives of these local family men providing an alternative source of livelihood, while diverting their attention from overexploitation of forest resources.
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