A Non-governmental organisation (NGO), WildAid has partnered with the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Lagos State Government and Nollywood towards launching a campaign on wildlife conservation.
Mr Peter Knights, the President and Chief Executive Officer of WildAid made this known at a news conference on yesterday in Lagos. He said the campaign also aim to seek reduction in illegal bush meat consumption.
Knights also added that the campaign seeks to support enforcement activities to tackle illegal wildlife trade and raise awareness of disappearing wildlife using the slogans “Keep them wild, keep us safe” and “Poaching steals from us all.”
“With its dynamism and cultural influence, Nigeria can turn things round for wildlife and become a regional leader in wildlife protection, which can boost the economy through tourism and safeguard the Nigerian public from zoonotic disease.
”Today, Nigeria has no surviving cheetahs, rhinos or giraffes, and fewer than 50 lions, 100 gorillas, 500 elephants and 2,300 chimpanzees left in the wild,” Knights said.
The WildAid CEO noted that despite ongoing conservation efforts, poaching for body parts and meat along with habitat loss from deforestation, infrastructure development, and agricultural expansion threaten wildlife in Nigeria.
He said that Illegal bush meat consumption is widespread across Nigeria’s top cities.
Delivering her goodwill message, Minister of State for Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, said the Federal Government is committed to protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of the nation’s biodiversity.
Ikeazor said that the ministry would support the sustainable management of forests, combat desertification, land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
“Our collaboration with relevant agencies and stakeholders to stem the tide of wildlife over exploitation and trafficking has led to the development and implementation of strategies to combat corruption risk associated with transnational organised wildlife crime.
”Consumption of bushmeat has been linked to zoonotic diseases, such as HIV-AIDS, Ebola, SARS, Lassa fever, monkey pox and COVID-19,” Ikeazor said.