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Nigeria: Keep Cocoa Growers Out of Gorilla Habitat!

Nigeria: Keep Cocoa Growers Out of Gorilla Habitat!

The home of gorillas is rapidly disappearing, primarily due to the expansion of the chocolate industry. 

In Nigeria, where these magnificent creatures inhabit, cocoa farming is encroaching upon the gorillas' last remaining refuges by catering to the global demand for chocolate. 

We simply cannot stand by as the last few fragments of the gorillas' forest homes are destroyed for confectionery production. Nigeria's current state is one of hope and despair: a staggering 96 percent of its forests have vanished, with the last bastion of hope being the Cross River State in the southeast. This region, one of the most biodiverse in the world, still serves as a home for gorillas. 

However, the forests in Cross River are facing an imminent threat. In 2017 alone, over 16,000 hectares of forest were destroyed, quadruple the previous year's figure. This alarming rate of deforestation is driven by illegal logging, palm oil production, and charcoal production. Now, cocoa farms are escalating their encroachment on these protected forests. 

The real facilitator of this destruction, however, is consumers from the global North who have an appetite for sweets. Nigeria, being the third-largest exporter of cocoa, accounts for ten percent of the European Union's imports. Cocoa exports have spiked by a concerning 65 percent over the past three years, reaching 248,000 tons in 2018 alone. 

The countries leading cocoa production, Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, have seen their forests decimated. Côte d’Ivoire's protected areas have nearly been ransacked, while Ghana set a dismal record for deforestation in 2018. The strong correlation between cocoa farming and deforestation is an alarming harbinger for Nigeria's future. 

Chocolate corporations indiscriminately buy up cocoa without considering the environmental implications. Although environmental advocates are striving to regulate the market at the EU level, time is running out for the gorillas. 

The Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade, has the power to safeguard these gorillas and their rapidly diminishing habitats. 


We hope you will join our petition to the governor. We must not allow the last remnants of gorilla habitats to be sacrificed for confectionery.



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