It’s the last set of group games in our fantastic World Cup for Wildlife, and this time the emphasis is on defence! We’ll be comparing wildlife tourism in each of the countries taking part in the World Cup to see who will ultimately take the title Wildlife Tourism World Champions 2014! In these games, we’ll be focussing on the problems that each country faces, as they are crucial in deciding whether they are a good place for wildlife tourism – or not!
Next up: Nigeria v Argentina
Check out the highlights and issues around wildlife tourism in each country below (all information taken from www.RIGHT-tourism.org), then read our Match Report at the bottom to find out the score!
Nigeria Wildlife – Highlights
Thanks to its diverse landscape of rainforests, mangroves, and savannas, Nigeria is home to a rich variety of wildlife. However, having Africa’s largest human population and its biggest economy, deforestation and bushmeat hunting are reducing many animal species to levels of vulnerability. The African elephant and the very rare Cross River gorilla are in particular danger. The country’s national parks serve as safe habitats for some of these endangered species. Yankari National Park is Nigeria’s most popular with tourists. It is a refuge for over 50 species of mammals, including elephants, buffalos, waterbucks, antelopes, monkeys, and hippopotamuses. There are also over 300 species of birds that have been sighted in the park.
Country Specific Issues
Nigeria has 5 National Parks. Gashaka–Gumti is the biggest and covers over 6,000 square kilometres. It includes the highest number of wild animals, including many endangered species. The dense forests and rivers in the national park are excellent for fishing. There is a forest reserve headquarters that keeps a strict watch on the poachers and also takes care of the well-being of the animals. There is a rest house for the visitors near the headquarters, which is situated on the main road of Mambila plateau and Bali.
The Kainji national park is located in the Kwara state of Nigeria and was constructed in 1979. The Kainiji national park includes two animal reserves, namely Zurugama and Borgu. Cross River national park is famous with tourists around the world as one of few remaining rainforests in Africa. A large number of tourists visit the park to see gorillas, leopards, white-faced monkeys, wild buffaloes and elephants.
For almost a century, Nigerians have been hunting animals as a source of protein and the resources are fast depleting, due to the excessive pressure on wildlife. Researchers estimate that about half a million tonnes of bushmeat are killed every year in Nigeria. The danger is that if wild animals continue to be hunted for bushmeat, especially large mammals with slow rates of reproduction, many species could become extinct within the next few decades. Read more about bushmeat here.
Nigeria has received a great deal of criticism from wildlife and animal welfare groups concerning the poor conditions in zoos across the country. The state government-owned zoo inside the Benue State University has come under the spotlight with reports of animals being housed in very poor conditions with no veterinary care and in some cases being starved to death. Read more about zoos here.
Argentina Wildlife – Highlights
Being the second largest country in South America, Argentina is home to a wide variety of wildlife including over 900 species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Argentina also has hundreds of different bird species, making it a bird watcher’s paradise. Animals such as the jaguar, cougar, crocodile as well as many bird species live in the subtropical northern regions, while in the central grasslands, armadillos, deer, foxes, and falcons can be found. One of the most unspoilt areas in Argentina remains the Esteros del Ibera, the second largest freshwater wetland on the planet and the largest protected area in the country. Further south, the Patagonian coast is popular for its marine wildlife (dolphins, orcas). A major tourist attraction is the Peninsula Valdes, which offers the chance to see the southern right whales as they use the natural harbours in this area as a resting and breeding ground.
Country Specific Issues
El Toreo de la Vincha (Bullfighting of the Headband)
Bullfighting is banned in Argentina but there are still some festivals that involve ‘mock bullfighting’. Each August, thousands of tourists and locals head to the town of Casabindo to witness the spectacle of ‘El Toreo de la Vincha’. The bull is not killed in this festival, instead ‘matadors’ have to grab a headband from the bull’s horns. Although the bull is not killed, the event invariably does cause a lot of stress to the bulls involved. You can read more about festivals involving animals here.
Some agencies are offering hunting trips to Argentina to shoot doves and advertising them by saying that you can shoot over 1000 cartridges per day. There is no close season for the eared dove in the country, so countless numbers of these birds of peace are killed in the name of sport each year. You can read more about dove shooting on our partner page at the League Against Cruel Sports, or about hunting here.
Deforestation and bushmeat hunting could cause many of Nigeria’s species to become extinct within the next few decades. Could this mean that this tournament might be one of the country’s last? This is likely to spell victory for Argentina, despite its “mock bullfighting” festivals and its open season for hunting doves.
Nigeria 0 v 2 Argentina
Don’t miss the next game…