Wildlife Hunting Now Attracts 10year Imprisonment, N1m in Nigeria -NCF
The Nigerian Conservation Federation has warned that anyone found guilty of exploitation and commercial hunting of wild animals risked 10-year imprisonment with an option of N1million fine or both.
Director-General of the Agency, Mr Adeniyi Karunwi, gave the warning in Ibadan on Saturday at a workshop organised by the Pangolins Conservation Working Group, Nigeria, in commemoration of 2017 World Pangolins Day.
The workshop, which was organized in collaboration with National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), South West Zone was entitled “Speak Up for Pangolins”.
Karunwi said that people need to know that exploitation and commercialisation of wildlife identified under Schedule 1 of the Endangered Species Amendment Act is a criminal offence which attracts a 10-year jail term.
According to him, conservation of wildlife is important in order to promote ecological tourism to the country.
The Coordinator, Pangolin Conservation Working Group, Dr Olajumoke Morenikeji, said that pangolins risked going into extinction, because they were the most illegally hunted and traded mammals.
Morenikeji, who is an Environmental Biologist, said that pangolins were illegally traded for their scales, meat and body parts which were in high demand in Asia, especially in China and Vietnam.
Morenikeji advocated for people-oriented approach to solving the issue of wildlife hunting in the country. “We need a grassroots approach to education and awareness on the importance of pangolin conservation to the ecosystem; humanity should be the guardian of pangolins, not the predator,”
In his view, Mr Adeleke Ajani, South-West Zonal Director, NESREA, said that pangolins were important in the maintenance of ecological balance. “Pangolins need to be sustained because they are very important in the ecosystem; they also serve as biological pest control.
“They are very voracious ant eaters; one pangolin can eat 70 million insects, including pests in a year. This means if you remove all of them you are calling for trouble,” he said.
Ajani explained that pangolins were peculiar animals, which mated only once in a year and gave birth to just a single young one. “Pangolins are very vulnerable creatures which cannot breed in captivity; they only breed well in their natural environment’’.
According to Ajani, NESREA, as a regulatory body, is scaling up efforts to prohibit and prosecute the illegal trafficking and international trade of pangolins and their scales.
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