*As Uzodinma reviews laws on wildlife conservation
Between 2011 and 2018, Imo State lost 13 percent of its natural forest cover.
Director-General of Nigerian Conservation Foundation, NCF, Dr. Muhtari Amino-Kana, said this on Tuesday in Owerri, the state capital, during the 2020 World Wildlife Day celebration on the theme Sustaining All Life on Earth.
He added that environmental integrity was being threatened whenever the environment was subjected to human-induced vagaries.
According to Amino-Kana, the main culprit in nature degradation was the human, but advised that activities of habitat laws violation could affect human existence.
According to him, Imo State zoo ranks among the best for plants and animal conservation.
Amino-Kana appealed to the public to always respect nature and never to engage in activities that could lead to degradation of natural habitat.
His words: “If the vultures could suddenly disappear from our environment, then you could believe that other species could also disappear. So we should be mindful of our attitudes to nature.”
He commended Governor Uzodinma for his support for the environment, adding that such support was an indication of good governance.
This is just as Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State said the state government would review extant laws on wildlife and conservation to mitigate excessive degradation of natural habitat.
The governor said the extant law review would also include the Eastern Nigerian laws, national and international laws; basically on the trade of endangered species.
He said the need to review the laws became necessary following reckless abuse and degradation of both animals and plants, thereby causing some of the animal species to go on extinction.
He said: “The 7th edition of world wildlife celebration presents everybody with the cogent challenge on a sober soul search on how we have related or destroyed nature in our lifetime.
“We are all guilty of not doing enough in preserving our natural habitat.”
Uzodinma said relentless mining activities, uncontrolled logging and fuelwood exploration, among others, are the major habitat degradation currently practised in the society.
He maintained that the solution to the problem was to review the laws and hold culprits responsible for any offence.
The governor further said his government would invest heavily to upgrade Imo State zoo and Wildlife Park to international standards.
While assuring that he will put machinery in place to enforce all wildlife laws, the governor said lands belonging to the zoo, but illegally acquired by land grabbers would be reclaimed.
“I will ensure immediate recovery of all designated federal forest reserves in the state and also put a stop to further encroachment,” he said.
On his part, General Manager of Imo Zoo and Wildlife Park, Mr. Francis Abioye, said the essence of the campaign was to sensitise the public on the need to preserve nature.
He said ignorance and lack of awareness was the major cause of nature degradation, but believed that continued sensitisation against violation of nature laws would help to save the society.