NCF Seeks Conservation of Vulture Species

Gideon Arinze in Enugu

The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has called on the public to work towards the conservative of vulture species, which are nature’s clean-up crew.

The NCF expressed worry that if urgent actions were not taken to preserve what is left of vultures, which have become endangered species, they may be driven into extinction through human activities.

Head of Communications, NCF, Oladapo Soneye, made this known yesterday during a one-day statewide advocacy campaign on vulture conservation organised by the NCF in collaboration with the South Saharan Social Development Organisation.

Soneye, who represented the Director-General of the NCF, Joseph Onoja, recalled that in 2019, about 150 vultures were found dead at Eke-Ihe Market in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State.

According to him, “This incident raised the concern of NCF and other major CSOs and authorities in the state. “It also led to the deployment of strategies, including community engagement, capacity building for law enforcement agents, awareness campaign and field surveys in gaining utmost support for the conservation of vultures.”

Soneye noted that the campaign, which was held as part of activities marking this year’s International Vulture Awareness Day, was intended to drum up support for the protection of the vultures while also highlighting their health and economic importance to the people and environment.

Among the identified threats against vulture species he listed were stoning by people who consider them as dirty or evil birds, and destruction of their habitat as a result of deforestation, adding that some use them for belief-based purposes while some trade their parts.

He regretted that although Nigeria has a revised Endangered Species Act, its implementation remains weak, adding that investigation, enforcement, and prosecution is the focus of capacity building effort conducted across Nigeria.

Soneye further explained that over 13 wildlife markets exist in South-west Nigeria with each having the capacity of trading not only in vultures and their part but other endangered wildlife such as pangolin, sea turtle, crocodile, ivory, wildcat.

“About four Nigerian States of Ogun, Oyo, Lagos and Ondo have the concentration of these wildlife markets, and serve as the trade hub for illegal exporting of the specimens, including vulture,” he said.

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