Man kills elephant: what it means for our wildlife conservation
The elephants in Ondo, Oun and Ogun state could be extinct in five years if the problem of logging and poaching in their natural habitat continues.
A picture of a hunter posing with a dead elephant he killed has gone viral.
According to various sources on social media, the hunter killed an elephant in a forest in Idanre, Ondo state. Comments under the post on Facebook revealed the elephant destroys crops in the state and the hunter who felled the beast is named Ajaja.
Many Nigerians have called on the Ondo State Government to arrest and prosecute him, noting that elephants and other wildlife are endangered species in the country.
It is very likely this endangered forest elephant wandered from the Oluwa Forest Reserve in Ondo State, Nigeria and rather than informing a government official about the whereabouts of the lost animal, Mr hunter decided to kill it.
It is important to note that the forest elephants in Nigeria found in Ondo, Osun and Ogun states are more threatened by deforestation. Experts fear that about 40 forest elephants (minus one now) are remaining in Omo, Shaha and Oluwa forest reserves. Hunting, logging and farming methods used in the forest have affected them and depleted their population over the years.
The elephants in these states could be extinct in five years if the problem of logging and poaching in their natural habitat continues.
What does this mean for wildlife conservation in Nigeria?
It is very simple! The government pays little regard or no attention to it at all.
The illegal killing of African elephants for their ivory seems to have fallen from record peaks but poaching of the animal is still far too high.
We should take our cue from the Pendjari National Park in Benin, West Africa who place satellite tracking collars on every elephant in their reserve. If one elephant wanders off, officials are able to quickly trace, tranquilise and transport him back.
The government should also provide more patrols in wildlife parks to limit the slaughter of these endangered species.
Only organised conservation, public support, enlightenment and good habitat management are capable of saving the forest elephant species from extinction in Nigeria.
This should be a wakeup call for the government to do something about the gradual annihilation of these wonderful species.