The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has called for stronger collaboration among global stakeholders as well as a more stringent legal framework to combat illegal wildlife trade and trafficking so as to conserve the ecosystem and preserve wildlife.
Obaseki made the call in commemoration of this year’s World Wildlife Day, celebrated by the United Nations and its partner institutions, with the theme, “recovering key species for ecosystem restoration.”
The governor, who noted that over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora are critically endangered, urged for better policies to preserve the ecosystem and address the many threats facing wildlife.
According to him, “With the knowledge that a quarter of species face the threat of extinction, this year’s World Wildlife Day presents yet another opportunity for stakeholders to take deliberate steps and intensify global efforts to protect and recover key species for ecosystem restoration.
“Better policies, including a more stringent legal framework to end the global menace of illegal wildlife trade and trafficking, among others must be developed to preserve the world’s diverse flora and fauna.
“This is imperative because when we protect and conserve the planet in which these species live, we do not just safeguard our wildlife assets, we also safeguard our current and future generations.”
Restating efforts by the government to conserve the state’s biodiversity, Obaseki noted, “As a government, we have undertaken extensive reforms to preserve our forests and stamp out wildlife crime and related offenses in the state.
We are engaging with investors in plantation agriculture so that a good cache of our forests is protected and preserved, even as they go about their businesses in a sustainable manner.
“We are in partnership with stakeholders, including the Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies to preserve our forest reserve, particularly the Okomu Forest Area against criminals.
This will prove critical in protecting elephants and other endangered animals in the forest.
We will continue to explore even better channels to protect our endangered wildlife assets,” he added.
According to the UN, “World Wildlife Day is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful and varied forms of wild fauna and flora and to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that their conservation provides to people.
At the same time, the Day reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.”