The Benue State government has raised alarm over threats of extinction facing wildlife in the state.
The Director of Forestry, Mr Anthony Sorkwagh, in an interview with Daily Trust said that activities of poachers, illegal tree felling exposing the animals’ habitat and over grazing of livestock were some of the activities leading to the extinction of the animals.
“Bad land use practices which include encroachment on protected areas, bad agricultural practices are also some of the reasons we have observed threatening the animals, while anxiety is been expressed in so many quarters as to the long and short term effects of the use of herbicides and other chemicals on our land resources albeit the fact that enough research had not been carried out in this regard,” he said.
Sorkwagh said the state had categorised animals into schedules I and II to protect them but this has not deterred the populaces.
“Under schedule I, we have animals on which there is an outright ban on their hunting, capture and trade.
These groups of animals are also referred to as endangered species and animals in these categories include lions, leopards, immature elephants, crocodiles, monitor lizards and rare birds species like eagles.
While schedule II referred to those not necessarily threatened at the moment with extinction but may also become threatened if adequate measures are not taken to stem the degree to which they are killed or captured,” he added.
According to him, animals under schedule II include matured elephants, warthogs, jackals, antelopes, porcupines and monkeys.
The director said that the state has charged forest guards to redouble their efforts at protecting the forest and wild animals and had interactions with communities on the need to protect the animals as part of efforts to save the wildlife.
Other measures undertaken by government, according to him, include regulation of the activities of herdsmen, restocking of the forest as well as regular seminars and workshops to enlighten stakeholders on the need to protect the animals.