Site description Gashaka-Gumti is the largest of Nigeria’s eight National Parks. It is located in the east of the country, against the Cameroon border, north-east of the Obudu Plateau (NG001). Part of it is situated on the mountainous Mambilla Plateau and is, therefore, part of a westward extension of the Cameroon mountains; the site is contiguous with Tchabel Mbabo in Cameroon (IBA CM009). There are also extensive lowland areas. The landscape is undulating and rugged, with some escarpments rising up to 2,400 m, which makes the park largely inaccessible except on foot. An extensive system of pristine streams and rivers drain the park and join to form the Taraba river which, in turn, discharges into the Benue. The park is a heterogenous mix of habitats comprising montane forests and grasslands, derived savanna with relict lowland forests, riparian forest and Sudan–Guinea Savanna woodlands. Plants commonly found in the park include Terminalia superba, Khaya grandifoliola, and Milicia excelsa in lowland forest areas, Syzygium guineense, Prunus africana and Ilex mitis in montane forests, Loudetia simplex and Andropogon spp. in montane grasslands and Daniellia oliveri, Lophira lanceolata, Afzelia africana, Isoberlinia doka and Burkea africana in the Sudan–Guinea Savanna woodlands. Annual rainfall is in the range 1,000–1,750 mm and the length of the dry season varies between five months in the drier, lower parts to two months in the wetter montane areas.
Key Biodiversity See Box and Tables 2 and 3 for key species. With some 366 species so far recorded in the still relatively poorly explored park, Gashaka-Gumti can lay claim to being the most ornithologically diverse site in Nigeria. Dendropicos poecilolaemus may also occur, as the only Nigerian record of the species was from nearby Serti. It is one of only two sites where Columba unicincta and Pseudoalcippe abyssinica have been recorded and the only known site for Cercotrichas hartlaubi.
Non-bird biodiversity: Some 103 species of mammals (over one-third of Nigeria’s list, see Happold 1987) have been recorded. It is the only site in Nigeria at which Hylochoerus meinertzhageni is fairly common. A population of about 2,000 Pan troglodytes (EN) inhabits the area. Loxodonta africana (EN), Lycaon pictus (EN), Taurotragus derbianus (LR/nt), Hippotragus equinus (LR/cd) and Redunca fulvorufula (LR/cd) also occur. The latter is of the subspecies adamauae which is endemic to the Adamawa Plateau of Cameroon, of which this is a western extremity. About 55 species of fish including two possibly new species of the genera Bryconaethiops and Gobiocichcla have been reported. Some 300–500 species of butterflies (including five newly described species) are believed to occur.
References Akinsoji (1997), Ananze et al. (1996), Anon. (1998), Ash (1990), Ash et al. (1989), Dowsett and Dowsett-Lemaire (1989), Dyer et al. (1987), Green (1990), Hall (1976, 1977), Happold (1987), Manu and Demey (1997).
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BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gashaka-Gumti National Park. Downloaded from
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