The Conservator General, National Park Service, Dr. Ibrahim Musa Goni said Nigeria should leverage on the advantages of its vast fauna(wildlife) and step up conservation activities for a healthier environment. He gave the advice while delivering a keynote address at the 2020 World Wild life day held at the Theophilus Idibiye Auditorium of the Federal University of Technology Akure on March 3, 2020. Goni who was represented by Deputy CG, Mr. OJO Oladipo spoke on this year’s theme “Sustaining All Life on Earth.” He said the benefits of the national parks in practical terms include protection of watershed, contribution towards carbon sequestration, employment generation, research, infrastructural development, recreation, foreign exchange earnings through tourism and conservation of the eco-system as a whole. He said the planet is home to countless species of Fauna and Flora. According to him, the world population is presently put around 7 billion and the ever increasing population depends fully on the planets plants and animals to survive. Dr. Goni stated that unsustainable human activities such as pollution, indiscriminate tree felling, uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels and mining, over the years have altered the shape of the planet. He said the roles national parks play in helping to conserve animals cannot be over emphasized. According to the Conservator General the Nigerian government established her first National Park in 1979 by the creation of Kainji lake national parks and today the country has 7 national parks fairly spread across the major ecological zones in the country.
In his remark at the occasion, the Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Fuwape advised Nigerians to show kindness to animals to sustain human co-existence in the eco-system. Fuwape who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development), Professor Philip Oguntunde said Wildlife should be given a chance to exist in the ecosystem. Professor Fuwape said that the foremost occupation of man which used to be hunting of wild animals and games should be greatly discouraged while domestication and rearing of these animals should be encouraged to enhance procreation. The Vice Chancellor said bush burning should be discouraged as the effect on the ecosystem is hazardous, since the various bushes serve as abode to the animals. He said Nigeria should join other countries in the current drive to leverage on the many advantages that can be derived from wildlife, ecotourism and conservation.
Speaking earlier the Head of Department, Eco-tourism and Wildlife Management (EWM) Prof. Bernadette Ejidike said its time humans began to see animals as endangered species in the ecosystem. She urged participants to imbibe the United Nations Chatter which states that people need to know that mother earth is the source of human existence; many civilizations can’t be complete without the fusion of flora and fauna. She said close to a quarter of all species on the planet are in danger of being extinct in the next few decades if nothing is done .She said all hands must be on deck to preserve wildlife for the good of the inhabitants of the earth.
A quiz competition was organized for the participating schools, which saw Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure clinching the 1st position, FUTA Secondary School clinched the 2nd position and Complete Development School came 3rd.