APPRAISAL OF THE SUPPORT ZONE COMMUNITY PROGRAMME IN YANKARI GAME RESERVE, NIGERIA

ABSTRACT
The support zone community program is designed to reduce or totally eliminate pressure on Park resources and focus attention on local people, their welfare and developmental needs. Studies have shown that people derive economic benefits in terms of income generation from the reserves in their localities, but reported inadequacy of infrastructural facilities which is necessary to the people. This study appraises the support zone community program in Yankari Game Reserve by examining the activities of the program and ascertaining its success and failures. Data was collected using focus group discussion (FGD), interview, field survey, relevant literatures and questionnaires. Descriptive statistics was used in the analysis with result presented on tables and interpreted to draw inferences. The study revealed that only few park employees had specialized training to enhance their job schedule of park protection. Most of the employees are able bodied indigenes on lower cadre like securities, cleaners, park rangers etc. To help communities build capacity in other economic activities towards reducing dependence on the YGR some basic infrastructures have been provided like access roads, water, education and health care centres etc. But these facilities are quit inadequate and some of them are malfunctioning. Farming innovations which have similar objectives have been introduced but adoption was partial due to financial constraint. The study also showed that the people are aware of the rules of conservation including ban on hunting, burning, deforestation, grazing in the reserve etc. This awareness had helped reduced illegal activities greatly. Certain benefits enjoyed at the onset of the program are not been sustained like the use of manual labour in the construction of tracks now replaced by modern machinery. Problems facing the program subsequently identified include partial compliance to conservation rules, intruders of large bands of visiting poachers, inadequate funding to finance the program etc. The study concludes by suggesting that the program has not been very effective. Recommendations made included that adequate funding be made available to implement the program.


CHAPTER ONE
1.0       DESIGN OF THE STUDY
1.1      INTRODUCTION
Game reserves are designated areas for the protection of wildlife (Flora and Fauna).When managed appropriately they are recognized as offering many sustainable benefits to society. They play a central role in the social and economic wellbeing and quality of life of their host communities by improving their living standard.

Today Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, etc are very important tourist destinations because of the success of their National Parks in that they have made the benefits of park conservation available to host communities.

The National Park Service Decree of 26th May 1999 (N0. 46) gives the Federal Government the powers to declare suitable forest and wildlife habitats as protected Areas. As of August, 2001 the National Park Service (NPS) manages eight such protected areas including Kainji Lake National Park, Chad Basin National Park, Cross River National Park, Gashaka-Gumti, Old Oyo National Park, Okomu National Park, Kamuku National Park and Yankari Game Reserve.

The decree provided strategic direction towards the improved conservation and management of National Parks. The Regulatory function of the NPS emphasize restoring the abundance and biodiversity of plant and animal species through protection measures such as ban on any farming or hunting activity and heavy restraint or access to protected Areas resources and produce by various users (Shashidharan, 2001).

Yankari Game Reserve was established in 1956 and open to the public in 1962. By a request of the Bauchi state Government, the Federal Government also approved its upgrading in 1991to the status of a National park. It has again reverted to the earlier status of a Game Reserve. (Marguba, 2002).

The open country and villages that surround YGR are populated by farmers and herdsmen. Though there has been no human settlement in the reserve for over a century. However, there is evidence of earlier human habitation in the park including old iron smelting sites and caves. (Marguba, 2002)

Declaration of National Protected Area status has also resulted in relocation of communities that lived inside and in the periphery of the Protected Areas. Besides the hardship of relocation, these communities lost some of their traditional rights and access to the resources and produce emanating from the Park and its surrounding areas. Inevitably, this situation led to some conflicts between the communities and the Protected Area authorities. Infringement of rules like encroachment of Protected Area territories, illegal felling of trees or harvest of forest produce and poaching for wild animals were some of the common causes for the conflicts. The decree provides for a “buffer zone” around the Protected Area boundary which can have “multiple uses”, as decided jointly by the NPS and the communities living around the Park. (Shashidharan, 2001)

The Nigeria National Park Service (established 1979) now adopted the Support Zone Community Programme (SZCP) in 1981as integral part of its solidarity with and contribution to the development of rural communities around the national parks. The programme is aimed at reducing or totally eliminating pressure on park resources and focus attention on local people, their welfare and developmental needs. It is to be supported by efforts that would make the benefit of national park protection and conservation available to local communities such as revenue generation, infrastructural development and service, and adoption of improved farming methods. (Tijani, 2007)

1.2       STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
As a policy, the authorities of Yankari Game Reserve (YGR ) has subscribed to the strategy of support zone community programme ( SZCP) .This involves inclusion of members of the host community in its job creation plan towards positive community attitude and habits in protecting and conserving the reserve’s resources. This is assumed to encourage sustainability in the reserve through the reduction or total elimination of poaching, deforestation and bush burning activities in the park. (Odunlami, 1994) and (Ismail, 2003). Economic empowerment will make the host communities develop or adopt conservatory practices since it is a source of their livelihood apart from farming and cattle rearing.

The SZCP has not been very effective over the years. These are seen in the inability of the programme to organize adequate agricultural extension services such as use of hybrid, herbicide and pesticide etc. Consequently, the communities are not making the best use of the environmental resources like trees and land at their villages and farms to get optimum yields.Also, inadequate physical infrastructure facilities and services characterise the host community areas. These are evident in the limited number of schools, health facilities, water, access roads and electricity supply.

Inadequate provision of these facilities and services to improve the people’s condition of living and livelihood does not augur well for sustainability of the reserve resources like animals, trees and bushes. It therefore makes the communities jeopardize the effort of staff and management through bush burning, hunting and deforestation for survival and immediate gain. It is therefore evident that there are successes and failures of the programme which need to be highlighted with emphasis on the effectiveness over a period of time. It is to establish whether there has been decline or improvement from the earlier stages till date.

Tijani,(2007),Adebayo,(2005) and Okafor ,(2000) in their studies reported the benefit that accrue to local communities as a result of the establishment of National parks and game reserves in various parts of Nigeria. According to their findings people derive economic benefit in terms of income generation from the parks in their localities. It is not clear how these results could be wholly valid since the studies also reported inadequacy of infrastructure facilities which are necessary to produce the kind of results that are required.Also these studies did not investigate if and how the host communities had benefited in improving their livelihood activities in farming such as maximizing the use of available land to avoid search for fresh land (bush fallow) during population growth, use of improved hybrid seedling, use of herbicides/pesticides, agricultural credit facilities etc, in order to obtain optimum output from their farming activities. Also, not much is said on the problem facing the host communities as a result of the game reserve.

The study attempts to answer the following research questions:

1.      What are the successes and failures of the programme?

2.      Has the program been effective in Yankari game reserve over the years?

1.3       AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of the study is to appraise the activities of the support zone community programme in the YGR as basis for making strategic recommendations for improvement.

The aim was achieved through the following objectives

1.      To review the concept of sustainable management practices of game Reserves.

2.      To examine the design and activities of the SZCP in Yankari Game Reserve.

3.      To ascertain the successes and failures of the programme in the YGR

4.      To make recommendations for improvement based on the successes and failures of the programme.

1.4       SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The study is limited to the appraisal of the support zone community programme in Yankari Game reserve. In areas of poverty alleviation, improvement in the livelihood of indigenous people (host communities) and conservation of the

biodiversity in the reserve area. However, it covers the following villages Yelwa, Duguri, Pali, Bogwas, Jagudi, Yalo, Dogon Ruwa, Maiari, Tudun Wada, Jada and Mainamaji.

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would be of great significance as it would assist in proffering useful suggestions on how to move the tourism industry to a greater height. Secondly, it would help the stakeholders in making future budgetary allocation on the development and wellbeing of the host communities.

Moreover, with the help of this work policy decision on the development of the tourism industry can be made. Finally, it would help in proper planning and management that can be viable source of economic benefit for government, private entrepreneurs and local communities.

1.6       DEFINITION OF TERMS
Local Community: Concept of local community concerns a particular constituted set of social relationships based on something which the individual have in common usually a common sense of identity.

Wildlife: All non-domesticated animals, which live outdoors including mammals, birds, and fish, which may be hunted as controlled by law.

Conservation: It has different meaning for different people. For some it implies the exclusion of humans from protected natural reserves and for others, the protection of threatened species or habitats in ecosystems that are already occupied or exploited by human populations (Mortimore, 1998).

Biodiversity: The variety of different species and genetic variability among individuals within each species.

Community Based Tourism: This refers more specifically to tourism activities or enterprises that involve local communities occur on their lands and are based on their cultural and natural assets and attractions (Nelson, 2004).

Community Based Ecotourism: Is community-based tourism which focuses on travel to areas with natural attractions (rather than, say, urban locales) and which contributes to environmental conservation and local livelihoods (Nelson, 2004).

Ecotourism: There is no general definition currently in use. However any conception of it must involve travel to relatively undisturbed or uncontaminated natural area with the objective of studying, admiring, and enjoying the natural environment of that area. An important point is that the person who practices ecotourism has the opportunity of immersing himself or herself in nature in a way that most people cannot enjoy in their routine, urban existence. It has also been suggested by Stephen and John (2002) that it is a responsible travel that conserves natural environment and sustain the well-being of local people.

Sustainable Development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World commission on Environment and Development, WCED, 1987 and Shittu, 1999). Environmental protection and management is central to sustainable development.

Habitat: An environment that provides everything: food, water, cover, space and arrangement wildlife needs to live.

Preservation: Non-use of resources.

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Item Type: Project Material  |  Attribute: 93 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: N3,000  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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