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CNN ‘Inside Africa’ explores rainforest wildlife in Nigeria..... Programme airs on CNNI, Friday 25 March at 1730 WAT

By Marian Balogun

The latest ‘Inside Africa’ on CNN International explores the dense rainforests of Southeast Nigeria, and endangered wildlife that are living within them.

‘Inside Africa’ meets some of the conservationists and researchers who are trying to protect these creatures from the threat of human encroachment, and learns of the extent of man-made damage to their rainforest environment.

The programme reports from the Cross Sanaga region, which is one of the oldest rainforests in Africa. ‘Inside Africa’ meets Peter Jenkins, who founded an organisation called Pandrillus, which helps protect the land for a rare breed of primate – the drill monkey.

The drill monkey is only found in three places, and thirty years ago they were thought to be extinct in Nigeria. However, thanks to Pandrillus’ work, there are now over 500.

‘Inside Africa’ learns that conservation is only half the issue, as Jenkins explains: “The populations will come back if the protection becomes effective. But they won’t come back if there’s no habitat.”

Much of these tropical high forests are under threat from human activity, such as the illegal timber trade.

Jenkins explains to ‘Inside Africa’ the significance of these factors: “It’s human impact. When I arrived here with my wife in 1988, there were 70 million people in Nigeria. Now they estimate the population at 180 million people… You see conflicts all around Nigeria, its fights over land, it’s over resources. Water, land, farming… It’s an acute problem now.”

The sections of the rainforest that have been cleared and burned can be seen from the sky, and ‘Inside Africa’ learns how these environmental changes are putting other animals at immediate risk.

The programme meets Iroro Tasnshr, a researcher who specialises in insectivorous bats. Having experienced being in the rainforest during a fire, Tasnshr holds similar concerns about its future: "There is no alternative so to speak, you can't go to a savanna and make a forest out of it."

As ‘Inside Africa’ travels further south through the rainforest, the programme learns that the threats facing this area are not confined to a single space.

There, ‘Inside Africa’ meets Miguel Garcia, who also manages a monkey sanctuary in the rainforest. The camp is run by the organisation Cercopan, which rescues several species of local primates that have been orphaned due to hunting.

Whilst there is safety within the enclosure, Garcia fears for the future if the destruction of the forest continues: “The rainforest in this area is very important, not only for Africa, but all the world… I’m afraid of the people will get inside the forest and destroy all of it.”

‘Inside Africa’ airs Friday 25 March on CNN International at 1730 WAT

The show also airs at the following times:

Saturday 26 March at 1130 WAT and 1830 WAT
Sunday 27 March at 0530 WAT
Tuesday 29 March at 1030 WAT
Thursday 31 March at 0530 WAT--