FORESTRY COMMISSIONER EMPHASISES PROTECTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, Engr. Taiwo Oludotun said the ecosystem can be best preserved when natural resources and wildlife including African Elephants are protected in the forest reserves.
Engr. Oludotun made this known in Abeokuta while making a presentation at a day sensitisation programme on “Forest Elephant: A Critical Component in the Forest Ecosystem” for stakeholders in Omo Forest Reserve, noting that effective avenues should be created for smaller species to co-exist, make water holes for wildlife by digging river beds to generate new free growth, and many more.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Rotimi Akinlesi, the Commissioner said the natural growth rate in forests had not stopped killings of Africa Elephant, in particular, saying ’’Africa Elephant are most threatened by the poaching crisis with an estimated 35,000 elephants being killed every year for their Tusks’’.
Oludotun lauded the Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF) for building the technical capacity of wildlife protection rangers, provision of patrol vans, arresting poachers and confiscating Elephant Tusks and firearms of invaders, assuring that the Ministry would intensify efforts on training officials, putting stringent measures in place to deter trafficking and smugglers in government forest reserves, as well as promulgate effective laws to prosecute wildlife offenders.
Delivering a keynote address, the Director General, NCF, Dr. Joseph Daniel said every living and non-living thing in the environment must be treated with dignity, urging participants to be the watchdog of the environment for the benefit of generations yet unborn.
Earlier in his address, the Director of Forestry, Non-Timber Programme, Dr. Gbotemi Odeleye, enjoined participants to protect and conserve the forest to get the desired result.
High point of the ceremony was a mini-documentary on the activities of elephants in the African forest reserves.