The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) has awarded scholarship to three Post Graduate students of the University of Calabar for the conservation of Cross River gorillas.
Mr Memudu Adedayo, Acting Director, Technical Programmes, NCF, stated this at the occasion of award of the scholarships in Calabar, Cross River State, on Thursday, January 19, 2023.
Adedayo, who expressed worry at the rate at which gorillas were being gamed, said the NCF was in collaboration with Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo and the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research (CBCR) in Ghana.
According to him, the scholarship is a form of community conservation initiative to protect the endangered Cross River gorillas.
He said the gesture would bring enormous ecotourism benefits to the people through preservation and conservation efforts of those species.
The beneficiaries, who were awarded scholarship in environmental sciences, were Agabi-Eneji and Adekanmbi Adeyinka who were awarded with an M.Sc. scholarship for two years.
Similarly, Wilfred Ayambem was awarded a Ph.D scholarship for three years.
“These are the first set of recipients out of the five students that will be beneficiaries from the five-year community conservation graduate student scholarship programme.
“The scholarship covers registration and tuition fees, operating and living expenses, accommodation, field research expenses, study materials and equipment.
“The programme which is full-time, involves a mandatory paid six-month internship at the NCF and a compulsory one-month hands-on training during an exchange visit to CBCR Ghana,” he said.
He said that in 1987, the NCF led a team to Afi Mountain in Cross River which led to the rediscovery of the Cross River gorilla which was hitherto considered extinct.
He said that the NCF had partnered with the Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo, Canada; the Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Research, Ghana; and the University of Calabar on research to promote the conservation of the Cross River gorilla.
According to Adedayo, other partners providing technical support for the project are the Cross River National Park and the Cross River Forestry Commission.
“As a leading conservation organisation in Nigeria who understands the implication of losing biodiversity at a rapid rate, NCF sourced for fund to address the challenge by engaging experts and consultants in conducting result-oriented research that will promote the conservation of endemic Cross River gorilla.”
The NCF is a foremost environmental non-governmental organisation in Nigeria dedicated to nature consevatrion and biodiversity resources management.
According to Adedayo, the key pillar in the 2021-2025 NCF Strategic Action Pillar (SAP) is “Saving Species in Peril”.
He said that SAP was designed to rescue and conserve species, especially those endemic to Nigeria such as Cross River Gorilla, Nigeria-Cameroon Chimpanzee, Ibadan Malimbe and many others.
By Ehigimetor Igbaugba