|Formerly part of the Afi River ForestReserve, the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 2000 to provide improved protection to important populations of several endangered species including the critically endangered Cross River gorilla, the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee, the drill and the grey-necked Picathartes or rockfowl. Afi is covered by roughly 100km² of lowland and sub-montane forest with rocky peaks rising to altitudes of 1,300m. Although the steep mountainous slopes of the sanctuary have largely protected it from logging the forest is frequently damaged by dry-season bush fires set to clear new farms or to flush game. Open areas created by fire are quickly colonised by herb species which form an important staple food for gorillas. On the western flank of the mountain is a large grassland roost of migratory European barn swallows, estimated to contain up to 20 million birds at times and reputed to be the largest wintering roost site of swallows in Africa. |
|Support the Cross River State Forestry Commission to protect Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and its important population of Cross River gorillas, chimpanzees, drill and rockfowl. |
The wildlife sanctuary is poorly protected and has suffered many years of neglect and mis-management. Local farmers took advantage of this situation to establish illegal farms inside the sanctuary for growing cocoa and bananas, today Afi contains at least 600 illegal farms. These farms are gradually destroying the sanctuary from within, reducing the habitat available for Cross River gorillas and other key species.
Farming and logging in the adjacent Afi River Forest Reserve and within the Buanchor enclave threatens the habitat corridor linking Afi to the Mbe Mountains further east, without this corridor the future of Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary and its unique wildlife is bleak indeed. Illegal hunting is widespread within the wildlife sanctuary, particularly the setting of wire snares to catch smaller animals such as rock hyrax. At least one gorilla was caught in a wire snare in 2010.
There are regular anti-poaching patrols by rangers employed by the Cross River State Forest Commission, and since 2011 WCS has supported these patrols with field rations and camping allowances, equipment and training. Established in 1997, and managed by WCS since 2002, a conservation education and awareness raising program provides support for 27 school conservation clubs and uses radio drama and film shows to spread conservation messages. WCS has recently trained six Afi hunters in rearing African giant snails in an attempt to provide hunters with an alternative source of income and an alternative source of protein for the community. Afi has high scenic value and is also the site of a major tourism drive by the Cross River State Tourism Bureau containing an impressive although under-utilised canopy walkway.
|Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary is surrounded by 16 communities with a total population of approximately 27,000. First established in 1997 a conservation education project in these communities has helped raise levels of awareness of the importance of the sanctuary and its unique wildlife yet many people still hunt and farm within the sanctuary. |
|Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary is managed by the Cross River State Forestry Commission with support from WCS and other partners such as the North Carolina Zoo and Pandrillus. A Conservation Coordinator employed by the Forestry Commission manages the sanctuary on a daily basis with support from 17 rangers.|