Conservationists worry over vulture population extinction
Conservationists have raised concern on declining vulture population, regretting that out of the five species recorded in the early 80s, only two existed with few others still remaining in the country.
They blamed the near extinction of the birds on various factors, including direct persecution, poisoning and death from diclofenac biomagnifications as well as use of vulture parts for traditional medicines.
Speaking in Abuja, the Director, Technical Programme, Nigerian Conversation Foundation (NCF), Dr. Joseph Onoja, said: “In Africa, about 11 species have also suffered the same fate as six out of the 11 species of the birds are at the brink of extinction.”
Onoja, who spoke on “Nigeria’s Effort in Tackling Illegal Trade in Vulture Parts and Belief-based Use” said the decline had impacted on ‘human health’ and the economy, adding, this has become more visible in both protected and unprotected areas.
He revealed that South East is the only zone of the country that has vultures, mostly in Enugu, Anambra and Imo. He added that the major cause of their declining population was due to how they were poisoned at abattoirs and also used for traditional medicine.
Also, Head, Wildlife and CITES Management, Mr. Timothy John, observed that the decline of the Hooded vulture population in Nigeria was thought to be imperceptible because it is cosmopolitan in nature.
John said: “In 2013, we conducted a study in Yankari Game Reserve in Bauchi State to discover similar result of the rate of reduction. It took five years for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to raise the conservation status of the species from least concern to critically endanger.
“This deleterious trend on the population of the bird, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (N CF) took deliberate steps to reverse the trend, while joining the Birdlife Partnership across the globe to curb the global decline.”
The Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Idris Abba-Ali, told journalists that their market assessment revealed that vulture parts had local and international trade route with major hubs in Cameroon, Niger Republic, Burkina Faso and Nigeria (Ibadan and Kano), that feed the rest of the wildlife markets in the southwest.
Abba-Ali stated that a life vulture goes between $85 and $140, while a dead one could be sold at between $40 and $60, depending on location and availability of the commodity.