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Nigeria could gain by promoting more biodiversity awareness

Poachers recently killed an elephant in Ogun State, south-west Nigeria. This was the second in the area in two years. It raises concerns about Nigeria’s dwindling elephant population. This is important as Nigeria is now one of Africa’s primary export hubs for ivory.

It also raises concerns about Nigerians’ attitude towards biodiversity conversation.

Awareness and understanding of biological diversity determines the conservation of threatened species  in many regions of the world.

Based on this, in 2010 the Convention of Biological Diversity set new targets for achieving biodiversity action plans at various levels. These are known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

First among the targets is raising people’s awareness of biodiversity conservation. This is the first step towards achieving conservation success and Sustainable Development Goal 15 – halting biodiversity loss.

Biological diversity benefits are enormous. Plants and animals provide many services. These range from food to shelter, medicine, aesthetics, ecotourism opportunities and jobs.

A visit to natural sites to view endangered or rare animals is also one of the mainstays of economies of some African nations like Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Such visits also have benefits for people’s health.

Despite its numerous benefits, biodiversity is still not well appreciated or promoted in Nigeria. People don’t bother about the conservation status of such animals before killing them for food or money. Poaching of rare and endangered animals does not receive a corresponding level of punishment in Nigeria. It is also not perceived as crime by many poachers. This is not the case in East and Southern Africa. There, poaching is criminalised and arrests are publicised to serve as deterrent.

Source: Further Africa

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