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Groups urge pangolin conservation

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(Photo by Sam YEH / AFP)

Disturbed by illegal trade in pangolin species in Nigeria, stakeholders have called for drastic action and regulations that would mitigate such activities.

They made the recommendation during the commemoration of the World Pangolin Day, held at the Lufasi Park in Eti-Osa, Lagos. Pangolins have always been hunted for food and traditional medicine. They are traded openly in bush meat markets and neighbouring countries as well as exported to foreign countries like China.

To this end, the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT), the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with LUFASI and Saint Marks Animal Rescue Foundation (SMARF) have been promoting conservation of Pangolin species in the country.

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Leading the call in a presentation entitled, “Biodiversity and us”, the Chairman of LUFASI, Mr. Desmond Majekodunmi, said illegal and poorly regulated wildlife trade is causing great damage to the society.
Majekodunmi advised all concerned to take drastic action in salvaging the species and the environment from total destruction.

NCF Director of Technical Programmes, Dr. Joseph Onoja, explained that the God-given nature of Pangolin makes the animal a very unique species among other mammals.

He said, “It has been shown that one of its kind can protect an area of forest as large as 31-football fields from termite destruction, enabling forests to absorb carbon dioxide and producing oxygen.”

The Chief Executive Officer, SMARF, Dr. Mark Ofua, said that it would be delightful if people and government pay more attention to the major issues driving pangolins into extinction.

On his part, the British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Ben Lewellyn Jones said that ant-eating nature of pangolins among other functions they perform in the ecosystem requires that, “All of us have the responsibility to protect them’’.

In her statement, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment, Belinda Odeneye, represented by Mr. Samuel Adeola, said state government is committed to the protection of endangered species native to the state, and efforts are being intensified to combat Illegal Wildlife Trade at identified wildlife markets.

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