Recently, there were reports of a lion being killed by hunters in Konduga Local Government Area, Borno State.
This was confirmed by Borno State Department of Environment Forestry and Wildlife Director Peter Ayuba who said the lion may have escaped from the Waza Game Reserve in Cameroon.
Ayuba told reporters of similar incidents of elephants, hyenas and other wildlife straying into some local governments in the area and getting killed.
Such incidents are not limited to Borno State alone. Similar reports of hippos and crocodiles killed in Taraba and an elephant shot and killed by poachers in Ogun State. It was reportedly the fourth elephant killed in two years in the region, alarming that at this rate the elephant population which has steadily declined over the years will not hit anything in the near future. Therefore, we disapprove of the slaughter of our wild animals by hunters and the celebration of what has been witnessed recently in Konduga and urge that it be discontinued.
For years, wildlife advocates and concerned conservationists have worried about the rate at which wildlife species are either being killed or driven from their natural habitats for several reasons.
Some of the reasons are attributed to the country’s rapid population growth which necessitates the need for more land for housing, access roads and industrial development.
Other reasons observed are driven by commercial purposes by poachers and hunters who intend to sell the body parts of these wild animals for profit and medicinal purposes.
In the process, our national parks, zoos and wildlife conservation areas established to protect wild animals and provide them with a sanctuary for their natural existence have either been demolished and converted for other purposes or neglected and left to rot.
It should be remembered that the existence of wild animals is a necessary part of the cycle of life. They play a crucial role in our ecosystem by helping to preserve the flora and fauna of our delicate collective existence as inhabitants and heirs of the earth.
Wildlife is also part of our folklore that intrinsically connects past generations to the present and provides a treasure trove of positive information and practices for future generations.
In this regard, the existence of wild animals around us is also a reminder of the wonders of the gifts of creation which provide us humans with unique knowledge and insights into some of the mysteries of creation and help us to solve some of our existential challenges. .
For countless reasons, therefore, wildlife is not only indispensable to our human existence, but to the earth as a whole in all its forms and characteristics.
That is why, in recognition of this, there are strict laws at the national and international levels for the protection and preservation of wild animals endangered by the rampant activities of man.
In the case of Nigeria, although such laws exist, they are practiced in violation or not enforced at all, leading to the near extinction of some of these animals.
Some of the reasons for the lax enforcement of wildlife conservation laws may relate to the conflict with our culture and traditions that value the killing of wild animals like lions, hyenas and elephants. Also in some cases, especially in rural areas, attempts are made to justify the killing of some of these animals by the need to curb their frequent incursions into villages by attacking and killing humans and their livestock.
While we cannot ignore our traditions in which wild animals figure prominently as beasts of loot and fame, and the dangers some of them pose to rural dwellers, the solution certainly cannot not be found in their wanton and brutal killing.
Indeed, wildlife protection laws that have been enacted in Nigeria and internationally to which the country is a signatory, provide for such situations. When the animal population reaches a level where it threatens the existence of humans and their livelihoods, laws require the culling of these animals to reduce the dangers and balance the life cycle.
Accordingly, we call on governments at all levels to be aware of the dangers of unnecessary killing of wild animals whose numbers are rapidly declining in the country as a result of such acts. This should be done through the diligent enforcement of existing laws that aim to protect and preserve wildlife from which we all derive immense benefits as members of the life cycle. Additionally, we call for awareness about the dangers of killing animals and what citizens can do whenever they find them stray.