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‘Akwa Ibom primates on brink of extinction’


Iniobong Essien

Conservationists have raised the alarm over the high rate of exploitation and degradation of conservation areas and reserves in the country.They highlighted that three gazetted forests, which are home to various wildlife species in Akwa Ibom State have been degraded, including the Stubbs Creek Forest Reserve.

The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Environment and Mineral Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien, who spoke at the 6th Biodiversity Conservation Conference organized by the Nigeria Society for Conservation Biology (NSCB) Nigeria chapter at the University of Uyo, said that over 50 per cent gorillas that are born each year in Nigeria are killed.

The commissioner who was represented by Bishop Edito Eyo, Director Department of Forestry, expressed concern that, “leopards that were common species are now rare, particularly because they are killed for their skins.

“Some unique species including the iconic wildlife species of Sclater’s guenon monkey, Red-capped mangabey, putty-nose Monkey Mona Monkey, Chimpanzees and many other primates that are on the brink of extinction,” he said.

While presenting the keynote address, the National Coordinator, Global Environment Facility, Small Grant Programme (GEF-SGP) Dr. Ibironke Olubamise explained that, despite the status of protection in many of the country’s biological hotspots the rate of exploration and degradation of the protected landscape by individuals and governments remained alarming.

“Many regional and state governments have destroyed the remaining forest beyond acceptable level due to ignorance in the name of development”, she said.The country she noted has not been able to significantly reduce its high rate of air, land and water pollution when compared with other oil producing countries in the world.

She lamented that, the country still need to do much to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are related to the conservation and sustainable use of its natural resources for meaningful Socio-economic development.

The president NSCB, Dr. Fola Babalola, said the conference with the theme, “Biodiversity Conservation and National Development: Potential and challenges” was planned to engage students, young and practicing conservation professionals to discuss and deliberate on potential and challenges of conservation in Nigeria.

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Iniobong Essien
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