ECOTOURISM AS A CONSERVATION STRATEGY FOR A PROTECTED AREA AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIAN IfATIONAL PARK.
Nigeria has lost 90% of her original tropical rainforest cover to logging, bush burning, slash and burn agriculture all of the remaining 10% of this is found ecotourism site. Some of these sites are of great importance, if they should be developed, except the National parks that have been gazetted or mapped out to some extent to bring man close to nature. National park is not the only ecotourism site; there are many others, as could be seen on the text. Recently, Nigerian national parks have started gaining ground in the issue of conservation. They preserve a lot of cultural and natural resources in their original state. As it is open to public visitation, people will come to know the wealth of their cultural and natural heritage value of their country as it showcases live pictures of wildlife. Thus, ecotourism development fostered local economic development, together with a strong national appreciation of the importance of the natural resources. Through park visitation, environmental education and private ecotourism development, the national parks and the wildlife reserves are now seen as a fundamental feature to development in Nigerian society. This paper examines ecotourism in form of national park with a view of assessing its contributions to community development.