The Tree House Adventure / Benin Kingdom
Okomu National Park “The pride of our natural heritage” is the smallest of the seven National Parks in Nigeria. The Park is a rainforest ecosystem gazetted from the former Okomu Forest reserve in 1935. Today, the Park is a good habitat for numerous endangered flora and fauna species.
Okomu Forest Reserve was originally exploited by the AT&P (African Timber & Plywood Company). However, logging was selective, taking only a few large valuable hardwoods (Lee White, 1988). In 1977 however, an area of 156 sq.km in BC 9 of the reserve was de-classified (de-reserved) and given to Federal Government oil palm project (Okomu Oil Palm Project). In addition, several compartments of the forest reserve have been given to monoculture plantations such as Michelin rubber Estate and Iyayi Rubber plantations.
Wildlife survey carried out in the then Bendel State in 1982 by P.A. Anadu and J.P. Oates revealed the following facts:-
Okomu was the largest remaining rainforest in the southwest Nigeria
Okomu contained a viable population of the rare white throated guenon Cercepithicus erythrogaster, a monkey endemic to southwest Nigeria, in addition to several other species of international concern
Okomu forest reserve was the least disturbed of all the rainforest in the State.
In 1985, the IUCN/SSC primate specialist group designated the white throated guenon as a species with high conservation priority and Okomu forest reserve as a priority reserve for its development and management. (Oates, 1985) The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) adopted Okomu as one of its priority areas and launched the Okomu forest project in October, 1987.
The formal handing over ceremony of the protected area by the Edo State Government to National Park Service took place on 26th May 1999 which coincided with the signing of decree 46 of 1999 (now Act of the National Assembly, cap 65 of 2004) that established the sanctuary as a National Park into law the sam