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. 





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.





As the world is faced with the critical challenge of driving Pangolin into extinction through Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT), the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in collaboration with Lagos Urban Forest Animal Sanctuary Initiative (LUFASI) and Saint Marks Animal Rescue Foundation (SMARF) declared their plans and mission in promoting the conservation of Pangolin species in Nigeria.


The declaration to combat IWT by the NGOs was made during the commemoration of the World Pangolin Day on Sunday, 21st March, 2021 at the Lufasi Park, Eti-Osa, Lagos.


Dr. Mark Ofua, CEO of SMARF in his welcome address said that it will delight him if people and government can pay more attention into the major issue driving pangolins into extinction.


In his presentation titled “Biodiversity and us”, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, Chairman of LUFASI said that the illegal and poorly regulated wildlife trade is causing great damage to the society and urged all concerned to take drastic action in salvaging the environment from total destruction.


While making a presentation on the theme “Pangolin conservation: a race to save the species”, Dr. Joseph Onoja, Director of Technical Programmes, NCF said that God-given nature of Pangolin makes the animal a very unique animal species among mammals. “It has been shown that one of its kind can protect an area of forest as large as 31 football fields from termite destruction, enabling forests to absorb carnondioxide and producing oxygen,” He said.


In his remarks, the British Deputy High Commissioner, His Excellency, Mr. Ben Lewellyn Jones said that ant-eating nature of pangolins among other functions they do in the ecosystem requires that “All of us have the responsibility to protect them,’’


In her statement, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Lagos State, Mrs. Belinda Ronke Odeneye, represented by Mr. Samuel Adeola said that Lagos State Government is committed to the protection of endangered species native to the state, and efforts are being intensified in combatting IWT at identified wildlife markets. Likewise the ministry of Agriculture under whose jurisdiction LUFASI operates, represented by Mr. Austen Humpe, pledged continuing support for LUFASI objectives.


The main attraction of the day was the commissioning of a Pangolin Soft Release Centre. Also present at the event were Mr. Peter Thomas, Deputy Head of Mission, British High Commission, Lagos; Yeye Agnes Sobajo; Dr. Eloka Chukwuemeka; Mrs. Faith Ufuoma Ofua; Dr. Sola Ogunsuyi; Mrs. Kofo Adeleke; Alashe Kosoko; Mr. Linus Unah of WildAid; representatives of National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigerian Environmental Society (NES), Omu Resort among others.




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