Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has called for the preservation of the nation’s wild life, noting that some animal species face extinction.
The former President made this call on Monday at the opening ceremony of the Wildlife Park, located at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Complex, Abeokuta.
Obasanjo, who was represented by the Managing Director, OOPL Ventures, Mr. Vitalis Ortese, named a cub ‘Aremu’, his traditional name, and donated N1m for the upkeep of the rare specie and its adoption.
These were contained in a statement by Obasanjo’s media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi, in Abeokuta, on Monday.
He said the adoption of the animal was aimed at recruiting individuals and corporate partners who would support the wildlife park in providing the financial resources for the preservation and care of animals that were on the brink of extinction as a result of increased human activities.
The Deputy Chief Coordinator, OOPL, Mr. Ayodele Aderinwale, said the introduction of the wildlife park into the library project had been part of the focal project since inception.
The National President, National Association of Zoo and Parks, Dr. Morenikeji Olajumoke, urged the government to brace for the challenges facing wildlife in the country.
She lamented that currently, some animal species were facing extinction in the country, saying something must be done fast to reverse the trend because of their benefits to humanity.
Olajumoke added, “Among the animals that are fast facing extinction is the pangolin. Already in China, we cannot find it anymore and they are shifting attention to Africa, particularly in Nigeria; and this is an animal that eliminates about 70 million pests in our forest annually.
“So, if we do not quickly address this, the pests will be available to destroy our forest too.”
Olajumoke lamented that notable parks like the one in Enugu State had become moribund and the land sold to private developers.
The NAZP president stated, “We must commend Baba (Obasanjo) for this and every stakeholder needs to come together to save wildlife park in the country.”
The Ogun State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Bashorun Muyiwa Oladipo, also commended the efforts of the former President to bring the wildlife park into the library complex.
“With what is happening here, one can be tempted to rename this OOPL as Obasanjo City,” Oladipo said.
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