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NCF expands save vulture, wildlife campaign, engages celebrities

By Chinedum Uwaegbulam
23 May 2022   |   4:04 am
One of Nigeria’s leading environmental groups dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development,Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), has expanded its campaign against vulture decline and Illegal Wildlife Trade...

NCF Life Fellow, Mr. Olakunle Falola (left); NCF Ambassador, Mariam Longe; NCF Director of Business Development & Communications, Uche Achunine; NCF Ambassador, Seun Akindele; NCF Life Fellow, Mrs Funmi Akinsefunmi; NCF  Senior Manager, Ayodele Alamu during the inauguration of Save Vulture and Wildlife Ambassador at Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos

One of Nigeria’s leading environmental groups dedicated to nature conservation and sustainable development,Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), has expanded its campaign against vulture decline and Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) by engaging some celebrities in the crusade.

NCF, since 2017, commenced a project tagged “Save Vulture Campaign”, an effort targeted at sensitising the public about the conservation of vulture species and the adverse effect of its extinction on human health and the economy. In expanding the scope of this campaign, an intensive battle against the IWT has been integrated into it to help harmony and synergise strategies and efforts at achieving better result.

The Save Vulture project is funded by European Union – Life and United State Fish and Wildlife Services. The Foundation had engaged some other personalities in the past on the same cause. They were Frank Donga (Comedian), Yomi Fash-Lanso (Movie Producer/Actor), Tito da fire (Musician/OAP) and Seyi Asurf (Movie Producer). The new set of campaign ambassadors – Mariam Longe, Co-host of TVC YourView; Seun Akindele, Nollywood actor; and Yvonne Jegede, Nollywood actor were inaugurated at Lekki Conservation Centre last week.

The three new additions were selected based on their cloud of influence on the teeming youth and impact in the entertainment industry. Engaging these trio will help to intensify public awareness about nature conservation while driving active youth engagement in environmental and wildlife conservation.

NCF Director General, represented by Director of Business Development and Communications, Mr. Uche Achunine, highlighted the essence of the campaign vis-à-vis importance of involving celebrities. He further revealed that the drive to save wildlife critically being endangered, especially vulture species is considered urgent and an utmost concern for all.

“About seven years ago, a research was conducted, facilitated by BirdLife Africa and IUCN, and it was discovered that vulture was declining at a very alarming rate. Especially in Nigeria, we were fast losing the “Nature”s Sanitary Officers” to threats such as religious belief, electrocution, loss of habitat, illegal trading.” he said.

NCF  Senior Manager, Mr. Ayodele Alamu, while making presentation on the status of the project, said effort has been made in tackling rapid decline of vulture. He revealed that Africa has about 11 vulture species and 6 of which could be found in Nigeria are at the verge of extinction if drastic steps are not taken.

Nigeria is home to seven out of the eleven vultures that exist in Africa. They are Egyptian Vulture- Neophronpercnopterus (Endangered), Hooded Vulture Necrosyrtesmonachus (Endangered), White-backed Gypsafricanus (Endangered), White-headed – Trigonocepsoccipitalis (Vulnerable), Ruppell’s Griffon – Gyprueppellii (Endangered), Palm-nut Vulture – Gypohieraxangolensis (Least Concern) and Lappet-faced Vulture -Torgostracheliotus – (Endangered).

“The only species that seems to be thriving in the country are the Hooded Vulture and Palm-nut Vulture. Longe, in her response, revealed that being an Ambassador for this campaign in the past two years motivated her to publish a book to the delight of children, titled “Vultures to the rescue! The clean up crew.”

Akindele, while appreciating this opportunity to serve as a campaign ambassador shared that his visit to Gambia where he saw birds flying allover, including vulture left him wondering what happen to Nigeria that some species of birds are fast disappearing. The Ambassadors pledged their commitment to this project. Theys were presented with awards.