The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), in collaboration with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo and the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research (CBCR) in Ghana, has awarded scholarship to three postgraduate students of the University of Calabar.
The award is a form of community conservation initiative to protect the endangered Cross River gorilla which will bring enormous ecotourism benefit to the people of Cross River through preservation and conservation efforts of these species.
The beneficiaries, who were awarded scholarship in environmental sciences, include David Agabi-Eneji and Adekanmbi Adeyinka, who got M. Sc. scholarships for two years; and Wilfred Ayambem, who was awarded a Ph. D scholarship for three years.
They are the first set of recipients out of the five students that will be beneficiaries from the five-year community conservation graduate student scholarship programme.
The scholarship covers registration and tuition fees, operating and living expenses, accommodation, field research expenses, study materials and equipment. The programme, which is full-time, involves a mandatory paid six-month internship at the NCF, and a compulsory one-month hands-on training during an exchange visit to CBCR Ghana.
In 1987, NCF led a team to Afi Mountain in Cross River, which resulted in the rediscovery of the Cross River gorilla, hitherto considered extinct. Currently, NCF is working with Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, Canada; CBCR Ghana; and the University of Calabar on research that promotes the conservation of the Cross River gorilla. Other partners providing technical support for this project are the Cross River National Park and the Cross River Forestry Commission.
“As a leading conservation organisation in Nigeria who understands the implication of losing biodiversity at a rapid rate, NCF sourced for fund to address the challenge by engaging experts and consultants in conducting result-oriented research that will promote the conservation of endemic Cross River gorilla”, said NCF Director General, Dr Joseph Onoja.
NCF is the foremost environmental NGO in Nigeria dedicated to nature conservation and biodiversity resources management. A key pillar in the 2021-2025 NCF Strategic Action Pillar is “Saving Species in Peril”, designed to rescue and conserve species, especially those endemic to Nigeria such as Cross River gorilla, Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee, Ibadan Malimbe and many others.