A zoologist, Prof. Olajumoke Morenikeji, has called for the protection of pangolin, saying that the animal must not be allowed to go into extinction.
Morenikeji, who made the call at a Children’s Colloquium and Kiddyfest to commemorate the 2020 World Pangolin Day in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Saturday, February 15, 2020, said that the animal provides the earth with natural pest control.
According to her, the animal remains the most effective pest controller, stressing that a single pangolin could consume millions of insects per year.
The expert, who said that pangolin could eat ants and termites that destroyed farm crops, added that under no circumstance must the animal be allowed to go into extinction.
Morenikeji, who is also the Chairperson of Nigeria Pangolin Working Group, noted that over one million pangolin scales had been shipped from the African continent since 2009.
“We are celebrating the pangolin; we are using the World Pangolin Day to let people know that there is a problem with the animal called pangolin; that it is gradually going into extinction.
“It is the day that we should create awareness; to let people know the situation of things concerning the animal. Pangolin is important, just like every other animal, to the ecosystem and if we remove it completely, there is going to be problem.
“We want our security agencies in the country to ensure that the borders are protected and the scales are not going out through the back door,” she said.
She pleaded with the Federal Government to establish a centre where rescued pangolin could be rehabilitated.
The Director, African Pangolin Working Group, Alexis Kriel, said that pangolin remained the most trafficked animal in the world.
Kriel, a South African, noted that 70 percent of the 97,000kg of pangolin scales intercepted while leaving Africa in 2019 originated from Nigeria.
She argued that Nigeria was currently leading other countries in the supply of pangolin to some African countries.
She called on African leaders to stop
trading in pangolin scales in the continent.
The high point of the event was the presentation of songs, drama and poems by students from different secondary schools across the state.
Representatives of state Ministry of Forestry, Agriculture and Environment and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) were present at the event.
By Abiodun Lawal