Nigerians have been strongly admonished to avoid the consumption of wild animals popularly referred to as ‘bush meat’ in these days of the rampaging novel coronavirus.
This admonition was given by Professor Olajumoke Morenikeji of the Department of Zoology, University of Ibadan on Tuesday.
Prof Morenikeji, who spoke while featuring on this week’s edition of Parrot Xtra Hour on Radio broadcast live on Space FM 90.1 in Ibadan and anchored by Olayinka Agboola, also used the opportunity to admonish those selling ‘bush meat’ to diversify into the raising of rabbits, grass cutter and other animals so as to keep their businesses. She added that governments at all levels can help them too.
According to her, in as much as the essential use of these animals cannot be ruled out, it is imperative to guide against over exploitation, particularly in the face of the various diseases emanating from them lately.
The professor who used to be a one-time director of the historical Zoological Garden in the University of Ibadan, Ibadan harped on the need for the government to pay more attention to wildlife as a source of revenue for the country.
She emphasized the need for the government to also enforce the already existing laws such as the endangered species acts that seeks to stop human beings from consuming animals that have almost gone into extinction.
While reacting to her relationship with the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church Of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, she explained that he was one of the many donors who contributed to the growth of UI’s zoological garden, especially at the time she was the director.
She also called for more awareness campaigns on the part of the government and organizations to enable people know the advantages of protecting wild animals especially those that are almost going into extinction. She gave the example of the pangolin that is being shipped out of Africa at an alarming level.
On the process of starting a zoo, the professor stressed that due protocols have to be observed, especially registering with relevant agencies in order to ensure standard practice and safety measures.
She also spoke of the day a rumour broke out that a lion had escaped from the Zoo during her days as the person in charge of the running of the zoo.
“I can never forget that day. You see, I was in my office as the Director in charge of the Zoo. Then, I started receiving calls from people where I was and to tell me that a lion had escaped from the zoo. I quickly gathered my people and we went to the lions’ section only to find out that it was a rumour. The place is being manned by competent hands. Thanks to the management of the University of Ibadan. I wouldn’t know why people will just choose to formulate a rumour and spread.”