Director, Ogba Zoo and Nature Park, Benin City, Mr. Andy Ehanire March 3, 2023, played host to stakeholders across the Wildlife, Forestry, and Conservation Biology sectors, who converged to mark the 2023 World Wildlife Day, (WWD.)
The host who played an integral role at hosting the United Nation approved event which had the theme, “Partnership for Conservation,” in celebration of its tenth anniversary which coincided with the 50th Anniversary of the signing of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 3rd March 1973, welcomed participants to the event.
The special guest and Edo State Commissioner for Environment and Sustainability, Engr. Jonathan Lawani, represented by Permanent Secretary, Mr. Edionwe Joel, updated on efforts by the administration of Governor Godwin Obaseki to revamp forestry and wildlife management in the state, especially in the area of regeneration of forest reserves. He was optimistic that with sustained efforts, the desire of the government to safeguard the forests and the valued species would be achieved.
Barr Osarogiuwa Iryn, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Arts, Culture, and Tourism who stood in for the Commissioner of the Ministry, enumerated the importance of heritage conservation as a key resource for tourism development.
Earlier, the Chairman of the occasion and Head of the Department of Forestry Resources and Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Prof (Mrs) Esohe Oboho, told stakeholders to remain committed to partnerships that drive progress.
Keynote Speaker and Professor of Wildlife Management, University of Benin, Gideon Emelue, called for a paradigm shift to help change the adverse narrative in the conservation of endangered wildlife species and habitats. He bemoaned poaching and open display of wildlife species, especially those endangered, in the endemic bush-meat trade.
On his part, a Professor of Botany at, the University of Benin, Emmanuel I. Aigbokhan, called for the incorporation of Conservation Education in schools’ curricula.
Other guests who made imput at the event included the Conservator of Parks, Okomu National Park, represented by DPW Okeiukwu Amaka; Dr. Felix Agidigbi (Retired Public Administrator from New York); Veteran broadcaster Mr. Tony Abolo, Mr. Tony Oregbeme – a veteran wildlife Administrator, Dr. John Jacobs, Mr. Tony Erha – an environmental journalist, Dr. O. S. Ikpomwonba – retired director of Forestry / FOW UNIBEN, Dr. Zubairu Dododawa (UNIBEN), Rev. John Igbinadolor (SP Retired) of Ogbaneki Community.