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Nigeria Launches Probe into Disturbing Endangered Wildlife Killings

Published December 27, 2023
7 months ago

Nigeria has been stirred into action following the emergence of a disturbing social media video showing a soldier gunning down two elephants in Borno state, prompting the Ministry of Environment to announce an extensive investigation. The clip, which has gathered steam on X, the platform formerly recognized as Twitter, has elicited public outcry demanding accountability and better protection for the nation's vulnerable wildlife.

The distressing footage is only a fraction of the recent violence against animals in Nigeria. Notable among the tragedies include the slaying of two booted eagles, visitors from Europe, in Sokoto and Kebbi states, alongside a disconcerting report citing a university professor's involvement in the hunting of another elephant in Ibadan.

Iziaq Salako, the Minister of State for Environment, confirmed the government's commitment to uncovering the perpetrators through a comprehensive investigation of these recent wildlife killings. The inquiry intends to envelop the separate incidents in Kebbi, Sokoto, and Ibadan.

"These inhumane acts symbolize not just an utter contempt for our environmental stewardship but also signal an immediate need for intensified conservation education," Salako stated.

Illustrating a dire ecological concern, the number of elephants in Nigeria has seen a precipitous drop over 30 years, dwindling from around 1,500 down to less than 400. This decline has been attributed to habitat encroachment, illegal ivory poaching, and human-elephant conflicts.

Despite Nigeria's participation in the global pact encapsulated by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the country remains mired in criticism as a notorious conduit for contraband wildlife trading, with ivory and pangolin scales often illegally trafficked through its borders.

Bosede Olukanni, the head of CITES and wildlife management within the environment ministry, elucidates that these heinous acts are emblematic of the broader menaces besieging fauna in the region. The recent killings underscore the urgent call for action to implement robust wildlife protection measures and crack down on illegal trafficking that plagues Nigeria's biodiversity.

The upcoming investigation by the Nigerian government is anticipated to be a pivotal move in reevaluating its conservation and anti-poaching strategies. These efforts are essential not only for the ethical treatment of animals but for preserving the ecological balance and biodiversity essential to the country's environmental heritage.

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