The Nigerian Conservation Foundation has called for stiffer penalties on deforestation and illegal trade in wildlife.
In commemoration of the World Wildlife Day and ahead of the International Day of Forest, the Head, Environmental Education Unit of the NCF, Mrs Abidemi Balogun, said a lot more could still be done in the fight against illegal wildlife trade as well as forest preservations.
A recent report by experts had said over 90 per cent of the country’s forest had been destroyed by human activities while illegal wildlife trade had been on the increase.
According to Balogun, many people are not aware some of these animals are either threatened or endangered, and there is need for more awareness and proper sensitisation of the general public as well as the enforcement agencies.
She said there should also be stringent rules and punishment for anyone caught in the act.
Balogun, in an interview with The PUNCH, said some of the major issues affecting wildlife and forest in the country included poaching, over exploitation, bush burning which destroyed wildlife habitat, weak forest policy and implementation, and illegal cutting of trees.