• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Wildlife conservation: Two apes mark golden anniversary


 As human beings compete for means of survival, livelihood and land with the increase in population of mankind to 7 billion in 2011, the need to preserve endangered plants and animals in their natural habitat becomes paramount.

Over the years, governments, non-governmental organisations and various advocates of wildlife conservation have been sounding the alarm that several endangered species are on the verge of extinction due to several threatening human activities.

Many advocates of wildlife conservation and tourism are expressing doubt about the possibility of future generations getting to see or even having the slightest idea of what some animals look like.

Some of the factors that have threatened the existence of some animals are habitat loss resulting from the degradation of the environment, climate change that can be hazardous to wildlife, the use of toxic chemicals, natural phenomena such as flood, earthquakes and volcanoes, unregulated hunting and poaching, and the greatest of all, the extreme indifference of the public towards wildlife conservation and environmental issues.

Recently, John Bernard Aruwa, manager, Jos Zoological Garden, Plateau State, during the celebration of the 50th year of two great apes in the Jos Zoological Garden ‘Bobby’ and ‘Paulina,’ said the management had put in efforts to celebrate the golden age of the two apes because “today we live in a society that is slowly becoming ignorant of the importance attached to the conservation of animals, and by this celebration we are sending out a strong statement of what this organisation stands for, which is the belief that animals are important aspects of our environment.”

Aruwa, who appealed that donations for the upkeep of animals will go a long way in achieving the vision of the National Commission of Museum and Monuments (NCMM) in making the Zoological Garden a centre for tourism and relaxation indeed, said the life expectancy for chimpanzees was “about 45 in the wild and many in captivity live up to 60 years.”

Areo Adebayo, director, NCMM, however, disclosed that Bobby and Paulina belong to the Nigeria – Cameroon chimpanzee, a species of common chimpanzees that inhabit the rain forests along the border of Nigeria and Cameroon.

According to Adebayo, “the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee is recognised as the most threatened and least distributed of all the common chimpanzee sub-species, and without a dramatic change to human behaviour in the area. A 2008 report said that the Edumanom forest is the last known site for chimpanzee in the Niger-Delta.

“This is the reason why the NCMM finds it desirous to celebrate these two wonderful apes. The essence of zoological gardens world over is conservation. When I was told that Bobby and Paulina have attained the age of 50, I pondered over it and came to the realisation that many things might have happened to them. It is possible that they might have been shot dead or sold to foreign countries.”