Environment

NCF intensifies campaign against illegal wildlife trade

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By Patience Omoha

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) on Saturday reaffirmed its commitment to tackle the threat of illegal wildlife trade in the country.

The NCF said this in a statement from its communications chief, Mr. Oladapo Soneye, on Saturday in Abuja.

Soneye said the foundation made a commitment at the workshop titled “ Joint Regional Action Plan on Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade ” held in Abeokuta and Kano to address the challenge.

He identified some of the challenges of the NCF, including the shortage of rangers, the high rate of poverty among the forest dwellers, the over-reliance on forest resources.

Others, he said, understood the lack of modern facilities and equipment to manage forests and the lack of environmental education among Nigerians had also been identified as among the challenges.

According to him, the objectives of the workshop are to raise awareness on the issue of illegal wildlife trade with vultures as the target species.

He said the workshop would bring to the fore the challenges and limitations common to wildlife law enforcement in Nigeria.

Other goals, he said, included sensitizing enforcement and border control agencies on the need to gain more knowledge, understand the law and step up enforcement efforts.

He described illegal wildlife trade as the fourth transnational crime in the global ranking poses a threat to biodiversity comprising iconic animals such as elephants, rhinos, leopards and pangolins.

According to him, birds such as vultures and African gray parrots are not exempt from this threat.

He further revealed that the Nigerian customs service had made several seizures by profiling the containers, elephant tusks, pangolin scales, rhino horn.

He said the majority of Nigeria’s 1,169 forest reserves suffered from neglect, degradation, poaching and were not properly managed.

He also noted that revising existing laws to make penalties more severe and strengthen the capacity of law enforcement agencies to initiate appropriate prosecutions have been identified as the main means of combating illegal transnational trade and National Wildlife Area in Nigeria.

“Environmental education, an increased awareness campaign, training and retraining of security guards and more were other solutions offered at the workshops,” he said. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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