To mark the 2022 World Pangolin Day, conservationists in Nigeria have called on communities to get involved in the fight to tackle the illegal trade of pangolin in the country.
The experts who spoke at an event organised by the Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria in collaboration with the US Consulate in Lagos, said Nigeria cannot make substantial progress in its fight against the illegal trade of pangolin without community action.
Remarking at the event, the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, represented by the Director-General of NESREA, Aliyu Jauro, said achieving sustainability without community action is a challenge to sustainable wildlife resources.
Ikeazor stressed that the ministry was committed to ensuring environmental protection, natural resources conservation, and sustainable development, adding that the country will soon sign a Cooperation Framework Agreement on Transboundary Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forestry and Wildlife Resources with Cameroun.
Speaking, the Conservator-General, National Park Service, Ibrahim Gori, said President Buhari recently approved the establishment of 10 new national parks in the country to enhance efforts and commitment to tackling illegal wildlife trade in the country.
According to him, the theme for the 2022 World Pangolin Day was apt, especially as the conservation of any animal species, including the pangolins, is impossible without the cooperation of the community where these species are found.
On his part, the Chairman, Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria, Olajumoke Morenikeji, stated that pangolins are the most smuggled mammal in the world because of their meat and scales.
She said, “Unrestricted poaching, hunting, and trafficking of pangolins can lead to the extinction of the only mammals with scales as seen in Asia. To solve this problem, our existing conservation laws in the country should be amended and better enforced, to discourage hunting and poaching of pangolins and other wildlife animals.”
Remarking at the event, Jennie Foltz from the Department of Public Affairs, United States Consulate, Lagos, said the joint project between the United States Consulate and the Pangolin Conservation Guild of Nigeria was focused on promoting advocacy and awareness, and curbing the threats from pangolin trafficking on the environment and human health.
She said the US Mission to Nigeria, the embassy in Abuja, and the consulate in Lagos will continue to work closely with Nigerian authorities to train enforcement agencies on how to identify traffickers of pangolin meat and scales.
She hails community advocacy efforts at the grassroots and renewed commitment by the Nigerian government to wildlife protection.
Speaking on the importance of pangolins, Director-General and CEO, National Environmental Standards of Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Aliyu Jauro, said various studies have shown that a pangolin can protect an area of forest as large as a football field from termite destruction while enabling forest to absorb CO2 and to produce O2.
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