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PCWGN fights to stop pangolins extinction in Nigeria

The Pangolin Conservation Working Group Nigeria (PCWGN) in its continuous effort to stop the dramatic rise in the killing and illegal trade of pangolins, has rescued nine live pangolins from poachers recently.

Three have died out of the rescued pangolins due to bad handlings by poachers and the other six have been rehabilitated and released by the conservation group into a protected forest area.

The group had before now rescued several pangolins and is now urging the general public to contact the conservation body via its social media platforms anytime pangolins are sighted in the illegal trade.

The surge in pangolin poaching and trafficking in the past few years in Nigeria is widely believed to be driven by the growing economies in Far East Asia, especially China, where pangolin meat is seen as a status symbol by part of the nation’s increasingly wealthy middle class and the scales are used in traditional medicine.

Olajumoke Morenikeji, chair, PCWGN in a statement said a factor that has contributed to the increase in the rate of wildlife poaching and trafficking is the lenient sentences given to convicted wildlife traffickers.

Read also: Court detains five over attempt to export pangolin scale, elephant tusk

“There should be tougher penalties for those convicted of dealing in pangolin scales, elephant ivory, rhino horn and other animal products. There should be prosecution, conviction and then punishment. Our judicial system in Nigeria needs to be serious about Wildlife laws,” said Morenikeji, who is also a professor at the University of Ibadan.

“As a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), we need to do our bit as a Country. The illegal wildlife trafficking is completely out of control,” she said.

Recently, four Guineans were caught with around N22.3 billion worth of pangolin scales in Nigeria; however, their prosecution was halted due to the absence of an interpreter. After many weeks, they are still awaiting trial.

The rising price of illegal wildlife products is driving poachers to become increasingly ruthless with better planning and more sophisticated arms.

“There is a need to target people higher up the poaching chain.”

Morenikeji stated that the PCWGN is committed to saving live pangolins from the illegal trade before they become just scales. This is the only way we can replenish the wild. Let us protect these inheritances given free by nature.

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