Vultures Extinction Threatens Health, Environment – NCF

There has been concern expressed about the extinction of vultures in Nigeria, which tends to pose a lot of danger to people and to the environment. Mariam Longe, the ‘Save Vulture’ campaign ambassador for the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), was quoted to have said this during a book reading event at the American Corner in Lagos on Friday, 22nd April 2022.

During a press conference following the reading of her latest book, ‘Vultures to the rescue – The cleanup crew,’ which explains the importance of vultures to our ecosystem and population, and illustrates misconceptions about them, Longe urged Nigerians to protect the habitat of vultures.

She said, “I’m an ambassador for the Save Vulture campaign. Not only did I find out that they helped to keep our environment clean, but I found out that they’re critically endangered. They’re going extinct. And it’s because of some of the cultural beliefs that we have as a people. We see them as an evil omen, evil birds. So, a lot of people don’t want to have anything to do with them. What we do is to kill them, while some people believe they can use them for all sorts of ritual purposes. So these activities combined, have critically endangered the population of the vulture.”

Speaking on her choice of children as her targeted audience in her book, the popular TV host and Economics graduate from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said: “I believe that if you really want to change the mindset of people, it’s important that you carry children along, and it’s better to have well informed children who grow up to take better decisions for our environment.”

Lending his voice to the conversation, the president of the United States Government Exchange Alumni Association in Nigeria (USGEAA), Mr. Mike Okwoche emphasised the importance of the conservation of vultures in our environment. He said, “vultures are pivotal to the conservation of environment, especially when it comes to taking away all of the crumbs and all of the decaying carcasses of animals that we see in our environment on daily basis. So, it is a day to give regard to what the vultures do and then see how we can create consciousness from environmentalists and young people: to ensure that they get to know how important the vulture is, and some other animals that contribute to the cleaning of our environment.”

One of the parents who brought their children to the book reading event, Mrs. Omobola Olaribigbe expressed joy for getting an opportunity to know more about vultures as an adult, and then have mysterious tales about them being disproven. She said: “Today, I found out that vultures are not the bad animals that we’ve all been brought up to believe.”

One of the participants, a student, Toluwalope Oluwafemi boasted of how he has learnt of the importance of vultures in preventing germs and diseases, and also promised to spread the campaign by telling his colleagues at school about vultures.