IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON WILDLIFE RESOURCE CONSERVATION IN NSUKKA AGRICULTURAL ZONE OF ENUGU STATE
The study determined the impact of climate change on wildlife resource conservation in Nsukka Agricultural zone of Enugu State. Specifically, the study identified the impacts of climate change on wildlife habitat, wildlife forages, wildlife health and reproduction, environmental degradation threats on wildlife conservation and sustainable wildlife conservation practices to preserve wildlife resources. Five research questions and five null hypotheses guided the study. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. Five research questions were answered and five null hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance. Structured questionnaire was used to collect data for the study. The population for the study was 138 comprising 115 registered farmers (hunters) and 23 extension agents in Nsukka Agricultural Zone of Enugu State. No sample was drawn as the population was manageable. The research instrument was subjected to face validation by three experts, all from the Department of Agricultural Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The instrument was trial tested on 20 respondents outside the study area. The data collected were subjected to reliability test using Cronbach Alpha which yielded a coefficient of 0.78. The instrument was administered by the researcher with the help of three research assistants. One hundred and thirty four out of 138 copies of the instrument administered were duly completed and returned reflecting a return rate of 97%. The data collected were analyzed using Mean to answer research questions while t-test was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance(p). Findings of the study, among others, revealed that flooding destroys nesting home for wildlife; drought affects forest tree growth and regeneration; drought conditions alter breeding sites; climate change favours the growth of plant pests and diseases; heavy rainfall events cause flooding of wildlife habitat; thunder storm sets habitats on fire; alteration of habitat by extreme weather events makes habitat unconducive; strong winds pull down tree and expose the habitat and excessive sunshine affects vegetative growth. Based on the findprings of the study, it was recommended among others that the findings on the impact of climate change on wildlife habitat should be packaged and used as tool for public enlightenment and education by the National Orientation Agency to sensitize Nigerians on the dangers of climate change.