On the 3rd of December, 2015, a lion reportedly escaped from the Jos wildlife park and caused a bit of panic among people residing around the zoo. It was later announced that the lion was shot dead by security forces.
Despite the dangers of a loose lion, many conservationist and tourism enthusiast have questioned the rationale for shooting dead the animal. Questions like – ‘Why was a tranquilizer not used and why were soldiers and policemen sent to hunt down a lion rather than rangers?’ – have gone unanswered.
The death of the lion exposed some of the shortcomings in Nigeria’s multi-million-Naira tourism industry that’s yet to be fully explored by the governments. As a result, deems it fit to reel-out 3 reasons why we must protect and preserve these rare and valued wildlife.
Protect endangered species
Nigeria has eight National parks managed by the Nigeria National Park. They are Okomu Forest Reserve, Jos Wildlife Park, Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Yankari National Park, Cross River National Park, Kumuku National Park, Kainji Lake National Park and Old Oyo National Park established not only to host tourists but also to protect animals that are prone and susceptible to extinction.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Lions are among 23,000 species threatened with extinction. This is part reason why in Zimbabawe, the death of 13 year-old Cecil the lion caused uproar across the world. The lion was a familiar sight at Zimbabwe’s Hwange National park according to Reuters.
Nigeria has few active wildlife hosting a handful of wild animals. Therefore, everything must be done to protect them before they either migrate to other parts of the world or become extinct.
Conservation of Natural Habitat
With the rise in hunting, deforestation and encroachment of animal spaces by man, the need to conserve the natural habitats of these animals is very essential as well as conserve rain forest. The absence of this protection has led to the rapid spread of the Sahara Desert in Northern Nigeria and the upsurge in the threat of climate change. Even though parks have being dedicated for this purpose across the country, more needs to be done to keep their natural habitats from poachers and other intruders.
In countries like South-Africa, Kenya and Tanzania; there are swaths of lands dedicated to Wildlife. The Serengeti national park in Tanzania welcomes millions of tourists annually who simply visit to check out these wild animals. Revenues are accrued from these visits which is used to funds substantial chunk of the country’s budget.
In Nigeria, despite the cash crunch, wildlife parks domiciled in different parts of the country still require government attention. If the government can deploy cash to revamp these parks, a steady stream of revenue is guaranteed in the future. So, no one will dare shoot dead a lion. Rather, a well thought out plan will be a conceived to capture the animal alive.