Developing conservation capacity in Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation with more than 140 million people.

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The RSPB has worked in Nigeria for 25 years. In this time, in partnership with the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, we have worked from the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands in the far north to the Lekki Conservation Centre, the head office of the foundation, in the south.
Nigeria is also endowed with an incredibly diverse natural wealth, which is under great pressure from its burgeoning population. However, Nigeria's environment is often overlooked because of the small number of NGOs and experienced conservationists. RSPB is playing its part in developing this capacity by supporting the technical capacity of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), the BirdLife partner in Nigeria.
The RSPB started its collaboration with NCF at the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands in 1987, supported surveys leading to the publication of the Important Bird Area (IBA) book and continues to collaborate on site protection projects at the most important IBAs.


  • The Nigerian Conservation Foundation is a strong and effective environment NGO
  • There is a critical mass of dedicated and influential ornithologists in Nigeria
  • Better conservation of Nigeria's IBAs
  • Globally threatened species conserved


Key Dates

  • RSPB has funded the PhDs of three of Nigeria's leading ornithologists
  • NCF underwent restructuring that has led to a better and more effective NGO
  • NCF is Nigeria's leading environmental NGO
  • RSPB supported the publication of Nigeria's Important Bird Areas (IBA) book in 2002

Planned Work

The RSPB is supporting the institutional capacity of NCF through two grants to NCF. The first is support towards the employment of NCF's Director of Technical Programmes. The Director has been tasked with the development of NCF's conservation and research programmes.
Through the Director of Technical Programmes the RSPB also supports the training of Nigeria's new generation of ecologists. The RSPB in the past supported the PhDs of Nigeria's two pre-eminent ornithologists. Through NCF the RSPB is supporting the training of ornithologists at the Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) near to Jos in central Nigeria. Here we have supported two further students to undergo PhDs with lectures being delivered by Nigerian and international scientists. The two PhDs being supported are studying the threatened birds of the Obodu Plateau in Eastern Nigeria and the effect of development on the waterfowl of the Hadejia-Nguru Wetlands.
The RSPB is supporting NCF to protect several of its 30 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) at any one time. The PhD sites mentioned above, the Obodu Plateau and the Hadejia- Nguru Wetlands, are IBAs and recommendations from both PhDs will be used in guiding management. The RSPB has also supported NCF to protect the IBA forests of the Mambilla Plateau and the Donga River Valley in the remote east of the country. These forest are home to Bannerman’s weaver and Crossley’s ground thrush and our collaboration has tried to establish conservation programmes that balance conservation with development.

Species affected (not UK birds)

Mountain saw-wing, Cameroon Montane greenbul, grey-headed greenbul, green-breasted bush shrike, Crossley's ground thrust, white-tailed mountain babbler, Bannerman's weaver


Nigerian Conservation Foundation: NCF is Nigeria's premier non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of nature conservation. Formed in 1980 and registered in 1982 as a Charitable Trust, its ultimate goal is to stop and eventually reverse the accelerating degradation of Nigeria's natural environment.
A.P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute (APLORI) is a small institute connected to the University of Jos, Nigeria. It aims to educate students in conservation biology and to be a centre of excellence for ornithology in West Africa. Currently we are giving courses on master's level in conservation biology and tailored courses for other groups. PhD students from St Andrews University, UK, are affiliated to the institute, conducting research on various aspects in conservation biology.
Further, APLORI is co-operating internationally with other institutes, at present with the Lund University, Sweden and the Swedish Ornithological Society, on other aspects of ornithology, including studies on migratory birds and on avian blood parasites.


The RSPB funds the Technical Programmes staff member and the ongoing PhD programme for one person per year.


Coast on a stormy day

Alex Hipkiss

Senior International Funding Officer, RSPB
Tagged with: Country: International Country: Nigeria Project status: Ongoing Project types: Organisation development Project types: Site protection Project types: Species protection