By Canisius Mushibwe
With the United Nations saying the only period to restore the ecosystem is between now and 2030, conservation of nature and the wild is one of the world’s top priorities.
Unfortunately, that is not the case for Nigeria. The West African country is one of the leading illegal wildlife trafficking hubs, with animals such as pangolins facing a possibility of extinction due to the vice.
Pangolins are now considered one of the most trafficked mammals across the globe. Most population studies have failed to find out the exact estimate of pangolins left in the wild.
However, only eight species are known to be in existence, with the mammal being found across Africa and Asia.
They are categorized among the most endangered In Asia where there is high poaching yet two of the most threatened species live there.
Besides usage for medicinal purposes, pangolins are sought after for their tasty meat.
According to the World Wide Fund (WWF), approximately 195,000 pangolins were trafficked worldwide for their scales in 2019.
Non-profit Wildlife Justice Commission reveals that their scales can sell for up to US$740 per kilogram (kg) in some parts of the world.
An Anti wildlife trafficking group recently seized a huge amount of pangolin scales, claws, and even elephant tusks. The confiscated parts amounted to about US$54 million.
It is believed that Nigeria has established a market in Asia where the scales are used for medicinal purposes.
However, the EIA report states that corruption among port officials is one of the reasons why the West African country is such an attractive environment for smugglers.
There is a need for the Government of Nigeria to intensify and upscale reinforcement if the lives of these pangolins are to be saved.