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The Apoi Creek Forest Reserve

The Apoi Creek Forest Reserve

The Apoi Creek Forest Reserve
A portion of the Niger Delta. Credit:

In the Niger Delta, the largest freshwater wetland and aquatic ecosystem in Africa, there is a lowland, a swamp-forest of marshes and mangroves called the Apoi Creek Forest Reserve. Located in the west central part of the delta, in the greater municipality of Apoi-Oloidiama in Bayelsa State, and administered by the state’s Department of Agriculture and Forestry, the reserve covers an area of 292km. Its dense forest is home to species of birds, fish, and ground animals.

The regular flooding and drying of the delta area where the reserve is located accounts for its boom of plant life. Chief among these are several mangrove mini-forests, populated by raphia palm, vascular plants, and such tree species as the rhizophora, the irvingiacea, the xylopia staudtii, the cercestis afzelii, the uapaca palaudosa, the pterocarpus soyauxii, and the hallea ledermannii, all of which are rare in the country. Further into the hinterland, the mangrove segues into the tropical rainforest. The flooding further creates little swamps, lagoons, and lakes.

The tropical, humid climate of the reserve allows for the flourishing of a diverse fauna. They include cape buffaloes, African stag piglets, white-bellied pangolins, black-headed duikers, chimpanzees, royal pythons, manatees, and species of monkeys—the monkey cat, the great white-nosed monkey, the red colobus monkey, the Sclater’s guenon, the collar indication, the green colobus, and the rotbauchmeerkatzen. Birds include African gray parrots, black kites, hammerheads, and hard arboreal ducks. Along the rivers, there are Nile crocodiles, and in the waters, the fish species include cichlids, pike, and epiplatys.

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, The Apoi Creek Forest Reserve
The Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art. Photo Credit: Victor Ehikhamenor via Twitter

In 2008, the Ramsar Convention designated the Apoi Creek Forest Reserve a wetland of international importance.

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