Wildlife Protection: LASG Rescues Sea Turtle from Poacher, Returns Reptile to Sea
The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) has called for collective support against unlawful trade of wildlife, hunting and possession of wildlife parts in order to sustain the ecological balance and prevent the extinction of some special animals and plants.
The General Manager of the Agency, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, made the call while speaking on the rescue of a Sea Turtle from a poacher, who was arrested by the officials of the Kick against Indiscipline (KAI) in the Eti-Osa area of the State.
She said: “Our awareness advocacy recently paid off, as the officials of the Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) Eti-Osa Zone arrested one Isiaka Muhammad, who confessed to hunting sea creatures and selling them. The sea reptile was recovered and later released back into the ocean at Oniru Beach in the presence of our natural resource protection team”.
Dr. Fasawe expressed concern that ignorance of the general public to the benefits of wildlife is contributing to the high rate of unchecked illicit trade of the endangered species by some selfish people against the general interest of all.
According to her, the laws covering the preservation and conservation of wildlife in Nigeria are largely enshrined in two sets of Acts, namely: The Nigerian Endangered Species Act (Control of International Trade and Traffic) Act, Decree 11 of the 1985 Constitution and Section 20 of the National Parks Service Act.
The General Manager added that these extant laws in principle regulate the hunting, raring and trade of animals, as well as the setting up of the various game reserves we currently have in Nigeria including Yankari and Borgu game reserves, Okomu and Old Oyo National parks etc.
“Lagos State is a largely urban setting with the fastest growing population in Africa. The need for housing, industrialisation, recreational centres and other amenities pose danger to the existence of some special animals and plants due to non-availability of land for conservation activities”, Fasawe noted.
She also stressed that LASEPA is striving to maintain balance by diligently monitoring the effects of these undesirable activities on the environment, adding that concerted efforts are also geared towards protecting the State’s native wildlife population by insisting on a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a mandatory requirement before the commencement of any projects.
Maintaining that Lagos, as a port city, is vulnerable to illicit trade of treasured species, Dr. Fasawe stated that LASEPA has embarked on aggressive advocacy, improved surveillance and monitoring activities of the environment.
She pointed out that there is an improvement in baseline data collection, identification of endangered animal species and protected areas, botanical tagging of special trees/plants in addition to the strengthening of policies at the State and local levels.
Fasawe revealed that the agency has listed the green turtle, African savanna elephant, western gorilla, white-bellied pangolin, black rhino and grey parrots as endangered species facing various threats as a result of unlawful sales, habitat destruction, fashion trends and domestication amongst others.
“Tree plants such as sandbox tree, pine tree, anta root, cabbage tree, African mahogany and stool wood are also categorised as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to overexploitation and medicinal relevance”, she noted.
The General Manager said the nation’s population is now more conscious of the dangers inherent in the extinction of conservation wildlife and destruction of protected reserve ecological areas, advising residents to report incidents of poaching or illegal trade to the appropriate authorities for necessary action.