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Parks Service cautions against bush burning to protect wildlife, vegetation

The Nigeria National Parks Service has cautioned members of the public against bush burning in and around parks across the country to protect wildlife and vegetation.

Ibrahim Goni
Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, Conservator-General of the National Park Service

Alhaji Ibrahim Goni, the Conservator-General of the Service, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

Goni said it had become imperative to warn members of the public, following the onset of harmattan season.

To this end, he said that the service would embark on a nationwide campaign against bush burning in and around the parks during the dry season.

According to him, some people including herdsmen deliberately set fire around wild parks in a bid to get fresh fodder for their animals.

“They do this to enable them access Savannah land to influence early regeneration for their animals.

“We also have incidences where people embark on either individual hunting or communal hunting and set the bush on fire to drive out animals so they can capture or kill them.

“Each time you burn the bush or set vegetation on fire, even a standing rock will be weakened, so you are not only burning the grasses, you are destroying the soil nutrients.

“It also leads to air pollution and increases the carbon content in the atmosphere; and when this happens the ozone layer is destroyed, so you increase the intensity of the heat on the earth.’’

Goni, however, said that the National Parks Service had put some measures in place to guard against bush burning at its parks across the country.

The conservator-general listed some of the measures to include the clearing of boundaries around the parks.

“We ensure that immediately after the raining season, we embark on boundary clearing, and have graders run across the boundary to create ridges of about six metres wide.

“This we consider as a fire breaker so that when fire is set outside of our parks, the fire cannot penetrate our parks.’’

He said that as part of efforts to further protect wildlife and vegetation at the parks, the service would soon establish a fire fighting unit, adding that it would collaborate with the National Fire Service.

According to him, the unit will be adequately equipped to enable it respond swiftly to any fire incidents at the parks’’.

NAN reports that the concept of National Parks was first introduced in 1979 by Olusegun Obasanjo.

The objectives of the parks include the conservation of selective and representative samples of wildlife communities in Nigeria, and the establishment of an ecologically and geographically balanced network of protected areas under the jurisdiction and control of the Federal Government.

Others are the protection of endangered species of wild plants and animals and their habitats, and the conservation of wildlife throughout Nigeria so that the abundance and diversity of their species are maintained at the optimum level commensurate with other forms of land use, in order to ensure the continued existence of wildlife for the purpose of their sustainable utilisation for the benefit of the people among others.

By Ebere Agozie

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