Traditional herb sellers, poachers warned against selling vultures
The National Conservation Foundation has called on security operatives and herb sellers to support the foundation in its efforts to stop trafficking and illegal killing of vultures.
The Conservation Manager, Technical Programme of the NCF, Mr. Adedayo Mahmud, said this in Osogbo on Friday at a workshop organised by the NCF for policemen, officers of Nigerian Customs Service as well as herbs sellers.
Mahmud said vultures plays a very important role in the ecosystem, saying these include prevention of outbreak of diseases and sicknesses through their activities.
Apart from this role, the conservationist said, vultures also assist law enforcement agencies by flying over the area where poachers have just killed wildlife animals.
He said poachers usually poison these birds in order to avoid being given away by their activities.
Mahmud said, “Vultures are being killed in large number despite their importance to the ecosystem. Vulture population has declined drastically but it is estimated that a single vulture provides a scavenging benefit of $11,600 per year.
“Vultures are also used in traditional medicine. The feathers and the heads are used for ritualistic purposes and they are exported to other countries.
“That is why we are seeking the support of herb sellers and also security agencies to stop this.”
He advocated a legislation to arrest and prosecute wildlife traffickers and other offenders, including those found guilty of wildlife poisoning.
A lecturer at the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Management, Osun State University, Dr. Wahab Munir, said it was unfortunate that vultures, despite their economic importance in the ecosystem, had become endangered species.
The don said vultures play significant roles in sustaining a healthy ecosystem but stated that if care is not taken, the birds might soon become extinct.
He said, “Vulture extinction may lead to outbreak of diseases because vultures eat remains of dead animals which could cause disease if nothing is done to them. Their extinction will allow ferral dogs to move in on carcasses.
The Secretary, Elewe Omo Association of Osun State, Mr. Taofek Azzez, said his colleagues were not criminals but he assured the NCF that herb sellers would not kill or sell vultures.
According to him, the association will introduce the use of official receipt to ensure that their customers do not implicate them if they are caught with animals and other creatures not allowed to be killed by the law.
He stated that by using receipts, whatever items bought from any of his members would be stated, with signatures or fingerprints of the sellers and the buyers.