Conservationists seek collaboration to end illegal Pangolin trade
Experts have warned that unrestricted poaching, hunting, and trafficking of pangolins can lead to the extinction of the animal, unless urgent steps are taken to tackle practice.
The Chairman and convener, Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria, Olajumoke Morenikeji, gave the warning at an event organised by the body, in collaboration with the US Consulate, One Health Development Initiative (OHDI), and the Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI), as part of activities to mark the 2022 World Pangolin Day in Lagos.
While noting that pangolins are the most smuggled mammal in the world because of their meat and scales, Morenikeji said to solve the problem, the existing conservation laws in the country should be amended and better enforced, to discourage hunting and poaching of pangolins and other wildlife animals.
In her keynote address, the Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, represented by the Director General of National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Aliyu Jauro, said achieving sustainability without community action is a challenge to sustainable wildlife resources.
Ikeazor said the ministry’s mission is to ensure environmental protection, natural resources conservation, and sustainable development, adding that the country is set to sign a Cooperation Framework Agreement on Transboundary Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forestry and Wildlife Resources with Cameroun.
The Conservator-general, National Park Service, Ibrahim Goni, said President Muhammadu Buhari had 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 is especially relevant because the conservation of any animal species, including the pangolins, is impossible without the cooperation of the community where these species are found.
Also speaking, a representative from the department of Public Affairs, United States consulate, Lagos, Jenny Foltz, said “the joint project between the United States Consulate and the Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria is focused on promoting advocacy, drive awareness and curb the threats from pangolin trafficking on the environment and human health.”
She added that the US mission to Nigeria, embassy in Abuja, and the consulate in Lagos would work closely with the country to train enforcement agencies on how to identify pangolins and the traffickers of pangolin meat and scales.