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Imo government to upgrade zoological garden, wildlife park

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Participants at the events to commemorate this year’s World Wildlife Day (WWD) with the theme “Sustaining all life on earth” in Owerri, Imo

In a move to boost wildlife management and conservation, Imo authorities have announced plans to turn its zoological garden and wildlife park to an international ecotourism and research site.

Governor Hope Uzodinma made the pledge during events to commemorate the World Wildlife Day (WWD) with the theme “Sustaining all life on earth” held in Owerri, Imo State.

The WWD activities organized by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with the Imo State Government, Federal Ministry of Environment, National Association of Zoos and Wildlife Parks (NAZAP) commenced with a rally, led by government officials and members of NAZAP as well as 15 secondary schools.

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Uzodinma, who was the Special Guest of Honour said that this year’s event presents the cogent challenge of a sober soul search on how people have related with, preserved or destroyed nature in our lifetime.

He said “Habitat degradation manifests in many forms. Among them are relentless mining, both lawful and unlawful, uncontrolled logging, development of industrial plantations, highway and urban development, unbridled fuelwood exploitation and a host of other human activities.”

The Acting Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Sabina Onwuchi, revealed that wildlife consists of animals, birds and insects that are in their natural habitat and they are nature’s gift to mankind.

She said: “All efforts to protect wildlife (flora and fauna) should be intensified and every threat to the survival of wildlife species should be discontinued.”

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NCF Director-General, Dr. Muhtari Aminu-Kano, represented by Mr. Stephen Aina, Coordinator Species Recovery and Conservation Programme, said that mankind constantly interacts with nature and is surrounded by it.

“Therefore, the quality of human life on earth is greatly impacted by the environment and can be measured by environmental indices that are expressive of quality. Therefore human health and environmental health are synonymous.

“The natural environment in its pristine state is typically peaceful and calm and this possibly the reason why dwellers in the rural places are more peaceful and peaceable compared to their urban counterparts,” Aina said.

NAZAP President and General Manager of Imo Zoo, Mr. Francis Adeoye, appreciated the willingness of the stakeholders to protect wildlife.

Participants in the event include Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku;, SSG of Imo State, Chief Casmos Iwu;, Chief of Staff, Imo State, Chief Nnamdi Anyaehie; Prof. Samuel Oluwalana, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Prof. Olajumoke Morenikeji, University of Ibadan; Dr. Moses Oyatogun, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Mr. Henry Erikowa, CEO, Falcorp Mangrove Park Development Initiative; government officials, academia, members of NAZAP, media, school pupils from 35 secondary schools among others.

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