WildAid Partners with Nigerian Conservation Foundation to Tackle Urban Bushmeat Consumption in Nigeria

Monday, 22 February 2021 08:07

The partnership will drive a mass media awareness campaign to reduce bushmeat consumption in four key urban centres 

 

U.S.-based international wildlife conservation non-profit, WildAid is combining forces with Nigeria’s foremost conservation organization, Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) to tackle widespread demand for bushmeat in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Calabar. 

 

The bushmeat campaign aims to reduce urban demand for bushmeat, especially species protected by wildlife legislation, and improve inter-agency collaboration to enforce existing wildlife laws.  The campaign will engage popular celebrities in Nollywood, music, business and football as well as local conservationists to produce communication materials such as public service announcements, mini-documentaries, posters, social media content and billboard messages to shift behaviour around bushmeat consumption, while also working with government agencies across various sectors to improve enforcement and communication of existing wildlife legislations. 

 

“A new survey commissioned by us has shown that many Nigerians are concerned about the impacts their consumption is having on wild animals, and are very much open to change. We are thrilled to partner with NCF in order to effectively communicate to the public what is no longer just a conservation problem with few consequences, but a national concern that can have outsize impacts on cultures, economies and the environment,” said Tara Kilachand, Africa Programme Manager, WildAid. 

 

While bushmeat is an important part of rural food security, rapid urbanization has caused a soaring urban demand for bushmeat, despite widely available and affordable alternative protein sources. This growing appetite also threatens wildlife populations in Nigeria and increases the risk of zoonotic disease transmission.

 

Key species such as the Cross River gorilla, West African lion, Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee as well as the leopard, elephant and pangolin face sustained threats to their survival due to human-induced pressures, including poaching for the bushmeat trade, wildlife trafficking and traditional medicine. Massive tracts of wild habitat are also being lost to bush burning, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment and infrastructure development such as road construction.

 

“NCF is excited to work with WildAid on the campaign to reduce bushmeat consumption in Nigeria. Through this project, other issues such as illegal wildlife trade, poaching and over-exploitation of forest will be dealt with in the long run. With a lot of awareness creation in local communities, reorientation of the urban dwellers, and encouraging security agents to enforce relevant laws, a positive impact is achievable.” Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General, NCF.

 

Nigeria has emerged as a major transit hub for illegal wildlife products in West Africa, particularly elephant ivory and pangolin scales that are smuggled from the rest of the continent. Traders and middlemen involved in the commercial bushmeat trade are now being co-opted to work with poachers and organized criminal networks dealing in the illegal wildlife trade. 

 

With its large population and pan-African reach through music, media and the film industry, Nigeria has the potential to be a regional leader on wildlife issues.  By promoting national efforts in Nigeria to conserve wildlife as a key component of a holistic developmental agenda, the campaign hopes to inspire a deep sense of pride among Nigerians to protect and preserve wildlife for broader economic and environmental gains.

 

 

 

 

NCF, LUFASI, Others to Promote Pangolin Conservation

Saturday, 20 February 2021 11:02

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), Lagos Urban Forest Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI) and Saint Marks Animal Rescue Foundation (SMARF) are set to commemorate the World Pangolin Day (WPD) on Sunday, February 21, 2021 at LUFASI Nature Park, Eti-Osa, Lagos.

 

The WPD is held annually by stakeholders to create public awareness towards conserving and combating trafficking of pangolin species; while also appraising and celebrating milestones attained in the global push towards pangolin conservation. 

 

The rate at which pangolins are locally sourced, packaged and exported through Nigeria for the international markets and the scale of seizures reported in recent times necessitates the urgent advocacy for this “roller” with support and participation of all stakeholders globally.

 

This event will be graced by His Excellency Ben Lewellyn Jones, British Deputy High Commissioner; representatives of Lagos State Ministry of Environment, National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), WildAid, Omu Resort, among others.

 

“More than ever before, we all need to come together to combat and reduce human activities that are pushing pangolin into extinction. This is a fight that must not be left for government or NGOs alone, but every Nigerian should be concerned and take impactful action to conserve the remaining species, redeem the image of Nigeria soiled in the international scene as the hub of illegal wildlife trade of this mammal” Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, DG of NCF.

 

‘’The decimation of the pangolin is a classic example of how our footprint on nature, that is rapidly driving key species in the web of life into extinction, is beginning to have irreversible effects on the balance of nature and is preparing the way for future pandemics. Nigeria needs to become more a part of the solution than a part of the problem'' Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Chairman LUFASI.

 

“The time is now to unite our strengths and resources to defend the voiceless, taking every measure to save the treasured Pangolin, and in doing this, save humanity and earth” Dr. Mark Ofua, CEO of SMARF.

 

The word ‘pangolin’ comes from the Malay word ‘pengguling’, which means ‘one that rolls up’. When it is threatened, a pangolin will curl itself into a tight ball, which is impenetrable to predators.

 

The major threat to pangolins is illegal wildlife trade around the world, especially in Asia where they sought for their scales and meat. Unfortunately, Nigeria has become a hotspot and transit point for the illegal trade in pangolins.

 

Pangolins have big appetite for ants; hence are effective in controlling the population of ants. With an abundant number of pangolins, we would never have to worry about ant invasion in farms and homes. Hence, the need to protect and preserve these mammals from extinction. 

 

 

 

 

Fed. Govt, NCF Collaborate on the Preservation of Wetlands in Nigeria

Friday, 05 February 2021 09:59

The Federal Ministry of the Environment and Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) commemorated World Wetlands Day (WWD) on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 through a webinar.

 

The theme for this year’s event was “Wetlands and Water” and it reflected on challenges and solutions surrounding the conservation of wetlands in Nigeria. WWD is an annual global event used to highlight the need to protect wetlands and their biodiversities. Estimates show that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests. 

 

In his keynote address, Dr. Muhammad Mahmood Abubakar, Honourable Minister of the Environment said that the functions and importance of wetlands cannot be overemphasized. He said: “Wetlands contribute immensely to tackling climate change challenges by enhancing the adaptation and resilience capacity of the ecosystems, provide nature-based climate solutions and address socio-economic challenges such as  water pollution, erosion, food security, human health and disaster risk management by restoring water catchments.” 

 

He observed that the resources attributed to the wetlands in Nigeria are highly valuable as they contain a variety of reptiles, mammals, amphibians and bird’s species. 

 

“Unfortunately, these rich ecosystems are being threatened and lost at an alarming rate due to population pressure; poverty; deforestation; intensive cultivation; oil and gas exploration, industrial waste pollution; coastal and marine erosion; overgrazing as well as climate change. we must all recognize the need for urgent intervention.” He added.

 

Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, Director General of NCF in his presentation titled “Inseparable: water, wetlands and life” identified some basic environmental importance of wetlands as capturing and storing rainwater; replenishing ground water aquifers; regulating water quantity and supply by releasing water at the right time to the right place in the right amounts; improving water quality by removing and absorbing pollutants.

 

He said “Wetlands sustain life and keep us healthy. Healthy watersheds provide natural, safe drinking water and support food production. Wetlands give us much of the fish we eat and is used in cultivating rice for 3.5 billion people globally. Wetlands are important for biodiversity as 40% of the world’s species live in wetlands, with 200 new fish species discovered in freshwater wetlands annually.”

 

He proposed interventions such as awareness creation, habitat restoration, and livelihood improvement as part of solutions to stop further degradation of wetlands and help in their restoration. 

 

In his remark, Mr. Sean Melbourne, Head of Climate Change & Energy West Africa, British High Commission said that wetlands provide some ecosystem services such as water regulation, flood control, water filtration and freshwater supply.

 

He revealed “If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the kidneys. Wetlands teem with biodiversity, providing homes and hunting grounds for several species and livelihoods for millions of people. They are part of our natural infrastructure, providing essential protection against environmental issues like drought and pollution.”

 

In her closing remark, Chief Sharon Ikeazor said that the Niger-Delta is the largest wetland in Africa and the 3rd largest mangrove forest in the world. She believed that commemoration such as this will raise a voice for the restoration of wetlands, especially in our country

 

Nigeria has 11 wetlands of international importance (Ramsar Sites). The total area is about 1,076,728 hectares.

 

These sites include: Lake Chad wetlands in Borno State; Dagona Sanctuary Lake, Yobe State; Hadejia-Nguru Lake, Jigawa & Yobe States; Maladumba Lake, Bauchi State; Baturiya wetland, Jigawa; Foge Islands, Kebbi State; Apoi Creek Forests, Bayelsa State; Padam & Wase Lakes, Plateau State, Upper Orashi Forests, Rivers State; Oguta Lake, Imo State and Lower Kaduna-Middle Niger Floodplain, Niger State.

 

Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.