Oban Hills

Oban Hills is a range of hills located within Cross River National Park, and it shares a border with the Korup National Park of Cameroon, established in 1988 as a part of the Cross River National park. This park, and others surrounding it, are natural habitats for wildlife and plants of unknown species.

The National Commission for Museums and Monuments proposed the Oban Hills in Nigeria to be declared a World Heritage Site. The proposition was submitted back in 1995. The Oban Hills are located in the Cross River National Park.

The Oban Hills have many different attractions. The attractions range from animals, plants and the geography of the park. The Oban Hills terrain ranges a great amount. Hills range from one hundred meters while in other areas near the river valleys they can be as tall as one thousand meters. The Oban Hills has a large amount of plant and animal life. Many of the plants in the Oban Hills area are not well known by people and scientists. This is due to the massive amount of biodiversity in the Cross River Park. People from all over the world have been visiting the Oban Hills for that reason. On the border of the Oban Hills Division, there is another national park. The Korup National Park borders the Oban Hills. The Korup National Park is in the Republic of Cameroon. To have another large park border another park is very crucial to the preservation of the area.

The Oban Hills is a biodiversity hotspot. The environment in and around the hills is very suitable for birds, and over three hundred and fifty bird species have been recorded. The Oban Hills is one of Africa’s oldest rainforests that is considered a biodiversity hotspot. There are over a dozen primate species in the park. The Xavier’s Green Bull is found in the Oban Hills, and is only found in one other area in Nigeria. The amount of snake species exceeds forty. African Forest Elephants which are considered endangered, are found in the Oban Hills. There are over seventy mammal species. The number of mammals is slowly shrinking due to the hunting of primates for their meat. Around one thousand five hundred plants species have been found in the division. Along with all of the plant and animal diversity, the Oban Hills is also known to be the richest area in Africa for butterflies. Historians think that at one time there were many people living in the Oban Hills area. They also think during the slave trade, the numbers of people living in the division shrank due to its close proximity to Calabar. As many slave trading companies in Calabar took people from the interior, is it very likely that they took people from the Oban Hills. While this area of Africa is very beautiful, humans are starting to make a negative mark on the surrounding areas of the Oban Hills. Big farms consisting of oil palm, pineapple, and rubber are becoming popular in the area. These farms and plantations lead to massive illegal logging to clear areas for farms, despite legal action to protect these areas.

The amount of fishing and hunting is rising every year due to farmers moving farther inland on the reserved areas. Local communities allowed hunters and farmers to gain a big amount of forest land. Around two hundred and fifty kilometers have been allowed to be farmed and hunted on. There is a lot of money to be made by the sale of the meat from Chimpanzee and Drill, as they are considered endangered. The Ekuri community set up a Forest Project that helped park officials with the management of the park. Villagers are being taught how to harvest food from the forest without damaging the ecosystem. Government officials are starting to enforce the illegal hunting and logging that occurs in the park. As one of the most biodiverse forests in Africa, it is very important to Nigerians that it is preserved.

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