The Nigerian Conservation Foundation has asked the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, to prosecute an indigene who recently killed an elephant in Idanre.
An unidentified man had last week killed an elephant at Janiyi camp in Idanre, Ondo State, sparking mixed reactions from Nigerians on the social media.
The NCF said the governor’s action against the killer would serve as a deterrent to others as elephants were globally endangered.
The Acting Director General of the NCF, Joseph Onoja, stated this on Tuesday, when he led a three-man delegation on a courtesy visit to the Punch Place, the corporate headquarters of Punch Nigeria Limited, Magboro, Ogun State.
According to Onoja, the NCF manages the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Conservation Project in Ogun, Ondo and Osun States, among other projects.
He said, “The NCF plays a vital role in the country’s environment and nature preservation. We manage the Omo-Shasha-Oluwa Conservation Project which is the last forest complex in the South-West and where we still have the forest elephant.
“We have been in touch with the governor trying to get him to take action because the Idanre incident has the potential of embarrassing his government.
“We knew there were elephants there but we didn’t want to blow it up so that poachers will not go in there and hunt the elephants. So, we were really disheartened, it is a criminal offence. We have a law, which is the Endangered Species Act and elephants are under Schedule 1, people are not supposed to trade in it. Nigeria is a signatory to biodiversity, we are not supposed to kill endangered species and elephants are known globally as endangered species.”
Onoja said under the Endangered Species Act, whoever killed an elephant could be penalised.
“When you kill an elephant, you extract its tusks which are classified under globally banned and illegally traded products. The person can be charged with killing an endangered species and trading in an illegal product,” he said.
The DG also called for more action in the preservation of vultures, adding that the bird’s population had declined in the last six years.
“Vulture moved from the least concerned to critically endangered species and the next step will be extinction. They play very vital roles, if they are not there to clean carcasses off the environment, the dogs and rats will take them into the human population where they spread anthrax, tuberculosis and cholera among other diseases that can affect the human population,” he added.
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