Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, on Tourism, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo, has called for more awareness on biodiversity conservation in schools across the state.
Speaking with newsmen on the significance of the World Wildlife Day as part of activities to mark the day in Yenagoa, Mr Kiyaramo, who commended Gov. Duoye Diri for banning logging and other deforestation activities in the state as part of efforts to protect the state’s forest reserves and rare plant species, noted that environmental education imparts knowledge about the current situation and future prospects of nature.
The theme for World Wildlife Day 2022 is ‘Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration.’ This theme is chosen as a way to draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora.
According to Mr Kiyaramo, a well-designed ecotourism strategy can support biodiversity conservation and promote sustainable tourism development, whilst protecting natural and cultural heritage values in protected areas.
He cited the newly approved Edumanom National Park located in parts of Ogbia and Nembe Local Government Areas where some of the last chimpanzees in Nigeria are found and that of the Apoi Creek National Park located in Southern Ijaw Local Government also in Bayelsa State that harbours some endemic and endangered species like the Niger Delta Red Colobus monkey, amongst other species, as forest reserves to be explored for ecotourism and conservation education.
The governor’s aide described environmental education as a fundamental aspect of ecotourism that characterises ecotourism and differentiates it from other forms of nature-based tourism.
Mr Kiyaramo, popularly known as “Mr Tourism” reiterated that ecotourism education can increase visitors’ knowledge of the environment and attitudes of visitors towards the protected areas, as well as promote pro-environmental attitudes and behavioural patterns in general.
He noted further that: “though ecotourism is considered as a good way to develop environmental values among tourists, not much attention has been given to the educational impact of ecotourism on young children, describing it as an unfortunate oversight on the part of stakeholders and policy makers.
The Senior Special Assistant on Tourism stressed the need to engage children to play in ecotourism sites as a way of supporting them to learn about nature with a view to nurturing it sustainably in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 15.
He explained that ecotourism education for kids could be directed at understanding the relationship between pre-school aged children and nature, using the theoretical concept of play-based learning as a pedagogical method.