National Park Service decries animal poaching, illegal tree felling

The Nigerian National Park Service has warned Nigerians to desist from killing young animals, as well as felling of trees to preserve the country’s ecosystem.

Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General of the service, gave the advice in Abuja.

I call on the Nigerian public to have respect for our environment; don’t kill animals anyhow; don’t harvest or cut trees indiscriminately — whether in the open range or in the protected areas. You can kill those animals that are old but avoid killing young ones and females; you can also exploit old and dead trees, instead of cutting down the young and fresh ones,’’ he said.

Goni said that logging, grazing, mining and other human activities had left a legacy of non-native vegetation and eroded soils at the national parks.

He noted that the service was striving to stop the killing of young animals and indiscriminate tree felling so as to preserve, improve and restore the ecosystem.

The goal of the restoration is to set in motion process-based ecosystem recovery strategies that lead to the regeneration and maintenance of resilient natural ecosystem processes. These processes generate desirable ecosystem structures and linkages which, in turn, restore ecosystem functions. It also involves site-specific design and planning that accommodates socio-economic aspects and broad stakeholder community initiatives to address the initial causes of the ecosystem’s breakdown”, he observed.

The service is embarking on aggressive stakeholders’ consultation to create the needed public awareness because when the people are aware of the salient issues and taken along, half of the job is done,’’ he said.

Besides, Gono said that the service was involved in community awareness, education and support to enhance the level of funding and political backing for habitat restoration activities.

Community outreach, education and involvement are important successful restoration activities that involve tree planting projects or stream clearance”, he said.

Increasing the level of public awareness will eventually lead to shifts in public perception of restoration, rather than loss, and so lead to political support for widespread restoration. This is also crucial for addressing the initial pressures that led to degradation, pollution or unsustainable harvests,’’ he added.

 

Mazino Dickson