• Monday, April 15, 2024
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Pangolin poaching seen threatening biological conservation

Pangolin poaching seen threatening biological conservation

The high rate of pangolin poaching in Africa’s biggest economy is threatening biological conservation in the country, experts have said.

The experts who spoke at an event organised by the Pangolin Conservation Guild of Nigeria to mark the 2024 World Pangolin Day said pangolins are very important in the biodiversity web.

Olajumoke Morenikeji, chair, Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria (PCGN) has stressed the importance of pangolins saying they are very crucial to the environment and must, therefore, be prevented from going into extinction.

Read also: PCGN to hold conference to mark 2024 World Pangolin Day in Ibadan

Morenikeji who is also a professor of Zoology, while calling for proper conservation of animals, especially pangolins, noted that the extinction of such animals portends grave danger to the ecosystem and human existence.

“Pangolins are so important, critical, and crucial to the ecosystem and environment. One pangolin is estimated to consume about 70 million insects in one year. Those insects include crop pests and those that bring down buildings like termites,” she said.

“Pangolin activities on the soil help to aerate the soil thus helping the plants to grow better. When pangolins dig a burrow, they leave places for other animals to inhabit. Our business is to make sure that the animals do not go into extinction.”

She urged the government to protect the pangolins from going into extinction, noting that the mammals are the most illegally traded mammals globally.

“There are reports of huge numbers of pangolin scales, translating to the killing of thousands of pangolins, being taken away from Nigeria.”

She stated that Pangolins would go extinct if care is not taken adding that Pangolins can only be found on two continents – Asia and Africa.
Now, most of the species in Asia are critically endangered, and the focus is on Africa to provide for the insatiable thirst for pangolins by the Asian countries.

Morenikeji said, “What we are doing is also for our benefit, because there is no way human beings will exist on earth if they remove all the trees, animals and everything around them; we will not last long before we all go extinct as well.”

Speaking on what PCGN is doing, the professor reiterated the determination of the Guild to keep on educating the populace and creating awareness of pangolin and wildlife conservation to safeguard the environment.

Zachariah Yaduma, director general of Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), Ibadan, said food security and survival of human beings would be a mirage if pangolins do not survive.

Yaduma, who was represented by Kehinde Solomon, professor of the institution, said the programme was apt as it focused on the protection, conservation as well as preservation of the environment and wildlife, especially pangolins.

“FRIN ensures the continued existence of wildlife species.”

“Man detests chemical control, so wildlife and pangolins are a means of ensuring biological conservation. Pests are rampant, and destructive to crops. It is the work of pangolins to eliminate the destructive work of pests and diseases.

“Pangolins eat a lot of insects and, in a way, protect the crops. That means if pangolins don’t survive, the issue of food security will be a mirage. Therefore, pangolins must be protected.

“Our people are being educated on the need to ensure that pangolins survive. Generally, we are advocating that animals must be protected in their natural environment.”

Also, Christina Connelly-Kanmaz, vice consul of the United States Consulate General, Lagos, on her part, said illegal wildlife trafficking posed significant threats to pangolins, saying that the United States through its various agencies and partnerships in Nigeria was deeply committed to wildlife conservation and the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking.

Read also: Nigeria complies with PCGN call burns $1.4m pangolin scales in anti-trafficking stand

“Pangolins are not just an integral part of our biodiversity but also a testament to our ecosystem’s intricate balance,” she said

The United States through its various agencies and partnerships in Nigeria is deeply committed to wildlife conservation and the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking which pose significant threats to pangolins,” said Connelly-Kanmaz.

The PCGN which had earlier held an awareness-creation rally at an Ibadan wildlife market and had community training on the importance of pangolin conservation attracted stakeholders in the environmental conservation, security and educational sectors, including law enforcement agents, scholars, non-governmental organisations, students and others.