It is common knowledge amongst animal lovers in Nigeria that there are many challenges when it comes to animal welfare in the country. Particularly concerning wildlife preservation, factors such as political instability, social insecurities, low level of awareness, and lack of information have been identified to be responsible for poor animal welfare.
Nigeria is home to many species of wildlife, however, there’s been a rapid decline in their number over the years. In the past five decades, the lion population has continued to decline in Africa. An estimated 20,000 lions are said to be left in the wild from 200,000. In Nigeria, lions are now on the verge of extinction. Scientists estimate that there may be fewer than 50 adult lions left in the wild in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s elephant population has declined drastically, plummeting from an estimated 1,500 to less than 400, according to conservationists; habitat loss, poaching for ivory, and human-elephant conflict are the primary threats to Nigeria’s native elephant population.
Despite a 1989 ban on the trade of ivory by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora thousands of elephants are killed each year for their tusks.
All of these stats denote the significance of the action that took place in Abuja over two weeks ago.
On the 9th of January 2024, In a bid to safeguard its declining elephant population from rampant wildlife traffickers, WIld Africa Fund in collaboration with the Nigerian government took a major step by destroying 2.5 tonnes of seized elephant tusks worth over $11.2 million. The tusks were seized from around 2009 until date.
This action indicates that Nigeria is taking proactive measures to combat illegal wildlife trade, protect endangered species, and uphold international agreements on wildlife conservation. Destroying the seized tusks is a step toward dismantling the illegal supply chain and deterring future illegal activities related to the trade in elephant ivory. It is a positive sign of commitment to wildlife conservation and the protection of endangered species. Finally, this action sends a message that these endangered animals are worth more alive to us than dead.
There is still much to hope for, as there are organisations like Greenfingers Wildlife Conservation Initiative and Saintmarks Animal Rescue Centre working tirelessly to make positive changes in this arena.