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…sensitise and empower communities
The Nigeria Conservation Foundation (NCF), foremost environmental NGO in Africa has taken a big step in the conservation of vulture as endanger species by sensitising and empowering some communities in the eastern part of Nigeria.
NCF,with her effort to protect the environment have identified two “Vulture Save Zone”in Anambra and Enugu, prominent states in the heart of eastern part of Nigeria.
The sensitisation and training of the volunteers was done to enhance the capability and skills of the people,so as to monitor and protect the vulture as an endangered species in the last habitat they are existing.
The awareness will leverage on social and community network of the people, especially youth and community leaders.
In Anambra State,35 community members from 7 villages participated in the training and awareness campaign, while 38 people at the Community,Awgu LG of Enugu were also trained.
The training highlighted the importance of preservation of endangered species like vulture,and benefits to human.
The participants which consist of target group of market women,hunters, youth group, and butchers from abattoirs where the vultures feed,were told to do all in their capacity to preserve the creature and discourage it’s killing and habitat fragmentation.
Some of the participants said residents of the community don’t kill the vulture, but intruders or hunters from Northern part of the country.
The sensitisation exercise suggested for the volunteers, who will serve as “Community Vulture Monitoring and Protection Officers”.
13 participants volunteered in Awka Etity Community in Anambra, while 15 individuals in Ihe community of Enugu State.
The volunteers were trained on how to collect relevant field data on the population and habitat monitoring of the vulture.
Customised branded jackets by NCF were given to the volunteers as a means of identification of a Community Vulture Monitoring Officers.
The people pledged their support for the operation,and sought for formal ties with NCF through written documents.
Volunteers expressed concern for security backup from law enforcement agencies,and requested for synergy between the volunteers and foundation.
They requested for arrest and procecution of illegal hunters,or farmers encroaching the protected habitats of these birds in their communities.
NCF promised to use its law enforcement network of Nigeria Police Force, NESREA, Custom, Nigeria Immigration Service,etc.to provide necessary support for the volunteers.It also promised to work with community leaders to revive some of the outdated by-laws in the community in further support of the vulture conservation.
A facilitator from NCF, Mr Joshua Dazi said the training and sensitisation was a success, considering the possible response of the volunteers,and acceptance of the communities.
He said the people have realised the importance of the presence of vulture in their environment,and the need to protect them.
An environmentalist in one of the communities, Mr Micheal Simire said NCF have done well in the areas of advocacy on the need to preserve endangered species like the vulture.
He said,”with the recent training in Enugu and Anambra State,it shows that there is a future for such endangered species in our local communities.”
Mr Simire called on NCF to take the campaign to more rural areas and allow it to be heard in local media for better reach.
He said the government should encourage them to do more by giving technical and professional support.
Mr Simire added that such support should be extended to provision of funds for them to implement some of their programs.