Okomu National Park, previously the Okomu Wildlife Sanctuary, is a forest block set within the 1,082 km² Okomu Forest Reserve, and situated about 60 km north-west of the city of Benin. The vegetation is typical Guinea–Congo lowland rainforest and is characterized by a mosaic of swamp-forest, high forest, secondary forest, and open scrub. Common trees include Ceiba pentandra, Celtis zenkeri, Triplochiton scleroxylon, Antiaris africana, Pycnanthus angolensis and Alstonia congoensis. The soils are sandy loam and acidic. Mean annual rainfall is about 2,100 mm and exposed soils are nutrient-poor as a result of leaching. The reserve’s main drainage is the southerly flowing Osse river, which forms its eastern boundary.
See Box and Table 3 for key species. About 150 bird species have been recorded from the park including, in addition to Ceratogymna elata, the nationally rare C. atrata. All four Negrofinches (Nigrita fusconata, N. bicolor, N. luteifrons and N. canicapilla) occur commonly. The nationally rare Telacanthura melanopygia has been recorded at Nikrowa, a settlement on the edge of the park.
Non-bird biodiversity: The mammal fauna is diverse (33 species) and includes Loxodonta africana cyclotis (EN) and Syncerus caffer (LR/cd), while the site is a stronghold for Cercopithecus erythrogaster (VU).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Okomu Forest Reserve is the largest block of what is now left of lowland rainforest in western Nigeria. Large-scale illegal logging (which has been going on since the 1950s) and the expansion of large rubber and oil-palm plantations nearby are the biggest threats to the park. About 50,000 people in 45 villages live in and around the park, and the population is increasing. Many are recent immigrants attracted by possibilities of employment in the timber and plantation industries, or by farming and hunting opportunities. Until May 1999, the park was managed as a wildlife sanctuary by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation; management has since been taken over by the National Parks Service.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Okomu National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/02/2020.