Group seeks conservation of biodiversity, animal species
A non-Governmental organisation, the Coalition for Biodiversity Conservationists of Nigeria (CBCN), has called for concerted efforts to save the world’s fast-depleting biodiversity.
The group made the call during a virtual meeting of environmentalists, entitled, ‘Building a Future where Biodiversity and humankind Thrive in Harmony is our Collective Responsibility.’ Experts at the forum agreed that all hands must be on deck for the realisation of a shared future for all wildlife, while environmentalists need to stick to conservation goals and uphold the profession’s ethics.
The unintentional transport of plants and animals to new regions is threatening the world’s ecosystems’ biodiversity, structure and function. The threats posed to biodiversity by invasive species are considered second only to habitat loss.
In her address, a professor at the University of Jos, Plateau state, Georgina Mwansat who led the call, lamented that humans have modified the natural systems for food, shelter, economy and social security.
Mwansat, who spoke on ‘Escalating Anthropogens on Biodiversity Conservation: Past, present, and future’ said human activities are eroding biodiversity, adding that some species are extinct already, and up to one million other species are threatened with extinction.
She said; “Unsustainable agriculture such as deforestation and ploughing, mono-cultures, irrigation, slash and burn agricultural practices, have resulted in the loss of important ground biota that helps natural processes.
The web of life, she emphasised, is threatened by pollution leading to the biological magnification of toxins at higher trophic levels, while different pollution sources have led to Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), resulting in global warming.
According to her, the need to conserve biodiversity is not restricted to the terrestrial environment.
She stressed that the oceans also play a vital role in climate mitigation and are a source of protein for about three billion people while containing countless species we know very little about, which could be the source of novel medicines and materials.”
She also said many wildlife species are killed to meet that demand while poaching, and smuggling of plants and animals have escalated with devastating consequences.
“A large animal can be gruesomely killed because of a small portion of its body perhaps less than three per cent of its weight. The African Elephant and the white rhino are believed to be extinct now.”
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the complex linkages between emerging infectious diseases and unregulated trade in wildlife, habitat loss, biodiversity fragmentation and shifting dispersal patterns caused by new weather extremes.
The forum attracted conservationists and organisations that include, the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, represented by Dr. Joseph Onoja, Eden Creation Care Initiative represented by Dr. Grace Pam, representative of Biodiversity Preservation Center by Prof. Edem Eniang, Save Sahara Network, Dr. Fola Babalola and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency, Ayuba Francis Jacob.
Others are the Director, environmental quality, representing the Director-General, Global Environment Facility (GEF) – Small Grants Programme (SGP), Ms. Ibironke Olubamise and Development Agenda magazine represented by Mr. Paddy Ezeala, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief who moderated the event. Others are Dr Clement Ebin, Chairman, CBCN Board of Trustees and Prof. Ahmad Sanda of Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto state.