Itam, Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, South-South Nigeria remains the uncelebrated “Monkeyland” of Nigeria. The indigenous people of Itam do not hunt, Kill or eat monkeys.
The ancestors of itam from time immemorial have revered primates and this tradition has been handed down from generations to generations. Today, free-ranging semi habituated Sclater’s monkey range freely in Itam villages of Ikot Uso Akpan, Obong Itam, Efi North Itam, Odiok Itam, Ukpaubong and ikot Andem. Populations of Red Capped Mangabey, Mona monkey and Prosimians (Calabar Angwantibo and Bush babies) range freely in wetlands and riparian forests of Mbak Atai Itam, Atai Afaha, Afaha Ikot Udu, and their environs yearning for conservation attention as habitat shrinkage, urbanization and over-population is gradually eroding away the sacred tradition of Itam that for ages protected these monkeys.
Dr Edem Eniang (a native of Itam) has since in 1996 been working assiduously with his team of BPC primatologist and international colleagues to protect this primate population through their several in-situ participatory projects with supports from SGP Nigeria and Global Wildlife Conservation USA.
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