For the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), the leading environmental NGO in Africa, the World Wildlife Day (WWD) 2022, which held recently, was another opportunity champion the cause of wildlife preservation in the continent.
This theme of this year’s WWD 2022, “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration,” resonated in the activities of the three-day commemorate which commenced on 1st March.
According to a statement by NCF’s Head of Communications, Mr Oladapo Soneye, WWD 2022 celebration drew attention to the conservation status of some of the critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora. The event, held at Lekki Conservation Centre (LCC) in Lagos, also directed discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to the species, a strategy that is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 15.
Some of the activities, which were targeted mainly at Primary and Secondary school pupils as well as tourists, included an educational tour of LCC, several sessions on how individuals can be involved in the conservation of these key species, and sharing of educational materials.
The activities attracted over 500 participants. The schools that featured included Mater dei School, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos; Life Spring School, Shasha, Lagos; God First International School, Ketu Lagos; Acadia Hilton Secondary School, Magboro, Ogun State; Unique Elite Montessori School, Mapland International School, Agungi Lekki, Lagos; Divine Purpose School, Surulere, Lagos; and Marigold College, Oworonshoki, Lagos.
The Senior Conservation Manager for the Lead Species Programme of NCF, Dr Stella Egbe highlighted the importance of the commemoration. ‘WWD is a wakeup call that brings wildlife challenges to the fore. It is always an opportunity to measure our impacts and renew measures to protect and preserve our wildlife,’ she said.
‘First of all, the public must be more aware of the role wildlife plays in balancing nature. Once the public has a clarity on this, nobody will ignore the business of protecting this important part of our environment. Gladly, days like the WWD helps to increase awareness and, hopefully, we will get the desirable levels of awareness soon’, she added.
Egbe further said: ‘We must continue to ensure we reduce extinction rates and leave a better ecosystem today and for the future’.
Animals and plants that live in the wild have fundamental value and contribute to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational, and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and sustainable development.
Conservationists believe that failure to jealousy protect the wildlife would lead to great loss of nature’s gift to humans, some of whom are endemic to Nigeria. These include Ibadan Malimbe, Jos Plateau Indigo bird, Anambra Waxbill, Niger-Delta Red Colobus, Sclater’s Monkey and Nigerian Klipspringer.
Continued loss of species, habitats and ecosystems also threatens all life on Earth, including humans, because humans rely on wildlife and biodiversity-based resources to meet all their needs – from food, to fuel, medicines, housing, and clothing.
Conservationists say Nigeria needs to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging environmental and social impacts. They argue that restoring wild species is important for sustainable development and to build a healthier world.