The Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria (PCGN) has urged the federal government to bolster its efforts against the illegal pangolin trade in order to delist Nigeria as the hub of the pangolin black market, which has been a source of both national and international concern.
This call to action was made by conservationists at the World Pangolin Day 2021 virtual conference hosted by the PCGN under the theme “Towards Sustainable Pangolin Conservation in Nigeria.”
The pangolin is the most trafficked mammal in the world, accounting for about 20 percent of all illegal wildlife trading. Its popularity on the black market owes to an unsubstantiated belief throughout Africa and Asia that pangolin scales possess medicinal properties capable of treating a variety of health conditions.
As a result of this, pangolin poaching has reached an all-time high in the last few years with the largest number of seizures being linked to Nigeria.
Adeshola Adepoju, director-general of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), said the fact that Nigeria has been labeled as the illegal pangolin trade hub in the global arena is a cause for great concern.
Representing Adepoju at the virtual conference, Professor Oladapo Akinyemi commended the efforts of the PCGN in consistently raising the profile of World Pangolin Day for the past five years, noting that to reverse Nigeria’s reputation as the hub for pangolin trafficking and ensure sustainable conservation would require the collaboration of a number of stakeholders.
AJ Jagelski, head of Environment, Science, Technology and Health at the United States Embassy in Abuja, said Nigeria has become a destination of choice for shipping wildlife to Asia, adding that collaborations would make oppositional voices louder and prompt everyone to start talking about pangolin conservation.
Olajumoke Morenikeji, chair of the PCGN, reiterated that the organization has recorded many successes in the past and hopes to do more for pangolin conservation in the years to come.