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Wilder institute, NCF award scholarships for Cross River gorillas conservation

By Silver Nwokoro
23 January 2023   |   3:15 am
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo and the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research (CBCR) in Ghana has awarded scholarship to three postgraduate students of the University of Calabar.

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in collaboration with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo and the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research (CBCR) in Ghana has awarded scholarship to three postgraduate students of the University of Calabar.

The award is for a community conservation initiative to protect endangered Cross River gorilla, which will bring enormous ecotourism benefit to the people of Cross River through preservation and conservation efforts of these species.
The beneficiaries are David Agabi-Eneji and Adekanmbi Adeyinka, who were awarded with an M.Sc. scholarship for two years and Wilfred Ayambem, who was awarded a Ph.D scholarship for three years. These are the first set of recipients out of the five students that will be beneficiaries from the five-year community conservation graduate student scholarship programme.

The scholarship covers registration and tuition fees, operating and living expenses, accommodation, field research expenses, study materials and equipment. The programme, which is full-time involves a mandatory paid six-month internship at the NCF and compulsory one-month hands-on training during an exchange visit to CBCR Ghana.

In 1987, NCF led a team to Afi Mountain in Cross River which led to the rediscovery of the Cross River gorilla which was hitherto considered extinct. Currently, NCF is working with Wilder Institute / Calgary Zoo, Canada; the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research, Ghana and University of Calabar on research that promotes the conservation of the Cross River gorilla.

Other partners providing technical support for this project are the Cross River National Park and Cross River Forestry Commission.

“As an organisation that understands the implication of losing biodiversity at a rapid rate, NCF sourced for fund to address the challenge by engaging experts and consultants in conducting result-oriented research that will promote the conservation of endemic Cross River gorilla,”Director General, NCF, Dr. Joseph Onoja said.

NCF engages in nature conservation and biodiversity resources management. A key pillar in the 2021-2025 NCF Strategic Action Pillar (SAP) is “Saving Species in Peril”, designed to rescue and conserve species, especially those endemic to Nigeria such as Cross River gorilla and Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee and Ibadan Malimbe.