By: Dayo Ayeyemi – Lagos
The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP) has called for urgent and practical steps in the fight against wildlife crime.
Speaking on the occasion of World Wildlife Day 2023, the NITP President, Mr Nathaniel Atebije, said there was an urgent need to take collective efforts and step up the fight against wildlife crime which, according to him, had wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
As part of the solutions, he called on governments at all levels to invest in physical planning (particularly regional development planning) to promote healthy wildlife coexistence to ensure that animals have spaces and resources.
Such land use plans, he explained, aimed to balance the needs of plants and animals alongside other environmental, social and economic considerations.
According to him, these practical steps would include the exclusion of wildlife from developed areas, improvement of habitat security in wildlife corridors, reduction of human-caused mortality, removal of natural and unnatural attractants in developed areas and promoting of habitats away from developed areas.
These were contained in a statement issued by the President of NITP to commemorate the World Wildlife Day 2023
Atebije also urged the government to increase capacity for enforcement, improve inter-agency collaboration and facilitate effective communications towards the fight against wildlife crime.
He described wildlife as “one of the best gifts of God to humanity”, saying it included the undomesticated animal species such as mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates that grow or live in wild places without being introduced by humans.
“They can be found in deserts, rainforests, grasslands, forests, plains and other spaces on the planet.
“They are of immense importance to man in view of their economic benefits, conservation of biological diversities, boosting of agricultural production, provision of ecological balance, facilitation of investigatory reports in medicine, promotion of culture and enhancement of sanctuaries for recreation.”
Unfortunately, Atebije pointed out that human actions and inactions in the environment have impacted negatively on their existence and survival through uncontrolled hunting and wanton destruction of their habitats for economic and other developmental activities.
As a result, he noted that many of the species have been facing extinction due to chronic environmental stress such as climate change, disease, pollution and predation.
While the institute appreciates the commitment of international organizations to provide support against the extinction of these species, the NITP president cautioned that the commemoration of this year’s World Wildlife Day should remind all stakeholders as co-tenants of planet earth of the urgent need to take collective efforts towards the fight against wildlife crime.
“NITP views with deep concern the continuous degeneration and reduction of wildlife species; and wishes to draw the attention of all actors on the human environment to the fact that each organism on the earth’s surface has a critical role to play in the ecosystem,” the statement read.
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