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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Elephant Day: Drumming up support for elephant conservation

Nigeria has for long featured very prominently among nations with high species endemism, spectacular landscape features and rare heritage sites that are of immense significance to biodiversity conservation. These among other factors have earned the nation global recognition and endeared a host of institutions to embrace animal and plant symbols as its corporate identity.

Sumatran elephants

Quantifying the values such insignias play in the emergence and growth of business entities will always remain a controversial subject of discourse, nevertheless – the use of nature-inspired insignia has facilitated the long-term brand impression, appreciation and patronage received by business owners.

Two subspecies of the African elephants with an estimated pooled population of about 300 individuals are currently living in the wild in Nigeria. The Forest Elephants occupy the lowland tropical forests of Southern Nigeria, while the Savannah Elephants make use of the vast woodland/grassland ecosystems north of the country. Efforts to persist these individuals in their home ranges are spearheaded by the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society – with support from various state governments, local communities and other corporate bodies.

The increasing interests and support from corporate institutions towards eco-friendly practices and actions have added to the expansion of conservation influence in Nigeria. Expectedly, these efforts paid off with the near zero mortality rates recorded for the elephants.

Nevertheless, sustained actions are still needed to halt the incessant habitat destruction and human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) triggering unpredictable behaviour and movements of Nigeria’s elephants out of known home ranges, thus voiding the application of existing action plans.

Enhancing civic awareness and mopping up wide-ranging supports for the elephants is visibly the moral pathway to tow. Nigeria is therefore expected to join the rest of the world to commemorate the 2019 World Elephant Day in August.  The theme “Bringing the world together to help Elephants” resonates with emerging facts that Nigeria’s elephants needed collaborative engagements to survive beyond this generation.

Consequently, NCF is mopping support from individuals and corporations, including those whose brand adornments promote natural features, to lend their corporate existence and influence to help the cause of Elephant conservation in Nigeria. Several modules for the commemoration are presently undergoing deliberation to create awareness and heap support for the elephants and local communities where HWC are predominant. Again, an opportunity is glaringly presented to enlist more influencers among the armies of individuals and institutions turning the tides in favour of the planet and its components.  

The NCF seeks support for the 2019 World Elephant Day to help it realise its mandates of beaming hope on the vulnerable populations of the nation’s elephants.

By Stephen Aina (NCF, Lagos; stephen.aina@ncfnigeria.org)

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