Nigeria will investigate the killing of two elephants, the environment minister said on Friday. In a video circulating on social media, a soldier is seen shooting a lost elephant with a rifle.
The video has caused outrage among Nigerians, who have criticized the killing of the elephants who were reportedly roaming near farmlands in the northeastern Borno state. They called for stronger measures to protect endangered wildlife.
Last months, two booted eagles that migrated from Europe were killed in northwestern Kebbi and Sokoto states. And a university professor was reportedly involved in the killing of another elephant in the southwestern city of Ibadan.
Minister of State for Environment Iziaq Salako is worried about the illegal killing of elephants and other wildlife species.
“As a ministry committed to environmental conservation and the protection of wildlife, we strongly condemn such actions that undermine the fragile balance of our ecosystem,” Salako said.
Salako added that elephants and eagles were categorized as endangered species and that killing these animals were offenses that could lead to prosecution.
Why are soldiers part of this 💔— Nigeria Stories (@NigeriaStories) December 19, 2023
Killings Elephant in Kala Barge Local Government.
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This is to bring your attention to a critical issue that demands immediate action
Video: @MusaGwary pic.twitter.com/nmfUDVNJ1R
Elephants in Nigeria
The elephant population in Nigeria has seen a dramatic decline over the past few decades. This is mainly due to habitat loss, poaching for ivory, and human-elephant conflict. From an estimated population of 1,200 to 1,500 two decades ago, the current estimate is now between 300 to 400 elephants.
One of the significant issues is habitat loss caused by agricultural expansion and illegal logging. This has been particularly noted in areas like the Afi River Forest Reserve and Omo Forest Reserve, where conservation efforts are limited due to insufficient resources and enforcement.
The lack of state support in these areas has led to unchecked fires and increased vulnerability for the elephants. The Nigerian government has been urged to take more robust actions to protect these elephants.
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