“A TALE OF ‘A CALLING’, ‘FAITH’ AND ‘FATE’ TO SELF DISCOVERY”

It all started with an Owl that fell on my laps in my University days at Olabisi Onabanjo University and came to maturity and fruition with a master’s course at Universidad Internacional de Andalucía. Hitherto, I had been stung by a bee at age 10, which made me developed a deep respect for nature and its wildlife.

As a young man at age 17, 1994/1995, I felt ‘a calling’ to humanity. A sense of a higher purpose to my life. So, I began a journey to self-discovery by enrolling in a Catholic Major Seminary. At this same time, I got an admission to one of the foremost universities in Nigeria to study medicine, but I declined the admission. Mid-way into a 7-year study of Philosophy and Theology I was convinced I needed a change. An unexamined life they say, it not worth living. I had to make a change. By February 1999; I left the seminary.

December 1999 I sought and gained admission to the Olabisi Onabanjo University and though I applied to study Pharmacy, I was offered Zoology. I simply resigned to FAITH and FATE. I just needed to enter a university at this stage in my life and was prepared to accept any course. FATE decided for me because when I had the opportunity to even switch back to the pharmacy, I decided NO because, at the time, I sincerely believed that I have a date with destiny about Animals. I felt herein lies my CALLING. I felt I had a purpose to fulfill studying animals but it was still hazy. So, I trudged on in FAITH.

It was about this time, on an early morning walk within the university premises that I found an injured Owl on my path. Against the social instinct and superstitious believes we learned as kids of the evil manifestations or meaning an Owl can have, I decided to provide this Owl with a home, food, care and nurtured it back to health. I was particularly fascinated when I saw it because as children, we only hear their sounds and pictures on TV and would not even switch the lights off in the room to go to sleep. And there lies an Owl in my presence for the very first time. I must say here that, I have never seen an Owl again till date except in Zoos. I took care of it, travel back and forth 100km journey to get White Rats to feed it and after some time I started breeding the white rats myself.

This started the journey for me in the field of Wildlife Domestication or Captive breeding and what I did not know could be part of conservation. I started breeding Rabbits, Grasscutters, Snails, Giant Rats and even had my Undergraduate thesis in the field of Ethnozoology with a special focus on the uses of animals; their parts and derivatives for traditional, cultural, religious, medicine and superstitious purposes. On graduation, in 2004, I had to release the Owl back to the Wild and sold off the white rats for practical’s because none of the zoology students behind me was willing to continue with the care.

2005, as a fresh graduate, the question was ‘What Next’? Most of my colleagues were not  willing to practice as a Zoologist, so we all decided to apply for jobs to work in banks and other sectors of the economy, but I had this burning desire to practice as a Zoologist, so much so that, I basically accepted to work for free at a Botanical Garden and Zoo – Shodex Gardens in Lagos. I used that platform to launch what I call ‘Emerald Animals’.

At this point, it was not clear cut for me what exactly I wanted to do. I ventured into Wildlife Education, which involved School outreach programmes, online education via Yahoo groups, setting pet zoos for schools and inviting them and the public to a guided tour at the Shodex Gardens. I called it ‘Wildlife Saturdays’ at the time. I combined this with Farm animals rearing – Rabbit, Chicken, Turkey and Catfish Farming. I even ventured into Animal Welfare issues. I wrote to all kinds of organization I could think of including, the Jane Goodall Institute, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the Humane Society and the likes but I could not accept Veganism. I could not accept at the time ‘don’t kill and eat animal’ though I agreed with some of the fundamental principles of Animal Welfare, then animal farming was the one paying the bills and I had to stick to it. Now, I accept it but to the extent of ‘don’t kill and eat wild animals’.

By 2007, I completely focused on Animal Farming. I had no support for the Wildlife Education, so I stopped (Situation has not changed locally). I sought employment in the private sector. From working as a Farm manager with different privately owned farms to managing Hotels to working as an Agricultural Extension officer with a government agricultural development agency to work as a Depot representation to station manager for a privately-owned oil company and by 2011, I had my own Farm. I was basically into the Catfish and Poultry farming – Chicken and Turkey. I also do Consultancy services.

My CALLING and FATE never left me. A combination of events – bad decisions, no access to funds and loans, failed loans where I got, led to the collapse of my company. With pressures from the family, with a Wife and 3 kids, I had to go look for Job again. I had to close down the farm in 2015, to be able to accept another Job Offer. This time around, it was a civil servant under the Federal Government of Nigeria. I applied and sought employment as a Fisheries officer to work in the ministry of Agriculture but as FATE will have it, I was employed as a Senior Scientific Officer into the Federal Ministry of Environment, Forestry Department, Wildlife and CITES Management division. I accept in FAITH and decided to refocus my energy.

I settled down and started my work. Looking back, I said to myself, I am right back where I began 10 years ago in 2005. I started my Career life in a Conservation Organisation and ten years down the line, I am in another Conservation Organisation. It simply felt right and perfect for me. I resolved within myself that I had it long coming. I have the basic requirement as a Zoologist to function well and I have an Archive of Conservation actions I had worked on in the past.

I was excited about my new position and felt this was an opportunity to reintroduce the Wildlife Education I was doing before. I tried to put together a workable arrangement that can be pursued through my new position in government but it proved impossible. The question thus arises. Would I be fully able to put in practice these conservation actions not as a private individual or in a private conservation agency but in government as a Civil Servant with its attendant rules and regulations? The answer was NO. I was at a loss. I was at the point and verge of blending with the status quo and I started working on other things that are not of relevant concern. The conditions were not right and the motivation was not so strong to push me beyond the bounds.

Yet, FATE had a surprise package for me. I got so lucky and got selected to represent Nigeria in a Masters course in Wildlife Management and Conservation of Species in Trade at the Prestigious Universidad Internacional De Andalusia, Baeza, Spain. It was at this place the desire, the CALLING that had been in me since 1994 was fanned into Flame. I literally got ‘Whip-lashed’ into taking conservation action and I was not going to let any status quo or challenges of funding and acceptance by the status quo come between me and fulfilling a lifelong calling to save Wildlife Species from the edge of Extinction.

A twist of a CALLING and FATE. A journey transiting from the Seminary to Baeza. A sign of Love and care for an Owl to what I now call ‘Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative’ – A Conservation, Research, Education and Wildlife Rescue Initiative with a Vision to create “A Growing generation, knowledgeable and motivated to take positive actions on behalf of the ‘Wildlife’– Plants and animals that share our land and sea with us and the environment”.

I got some close friends to come on this journey with me and I have about 60 other Wildlife professionals and enthusiast with me now and still counting. The idea is to create a platform where Wildlife enthusiast and professionals most especially can find a voice for wildlife and act. Many of us upon graduation have no clue as to what to do with our degrees, and there are few conservation organizations in the country and they can only employ so much. I don’t think our Wildlife has so much time left, and I don’t think with my knowledge and exposure, I have the luxury to focus on a species.

I see myself as a Signpost. A link between the Conservation community out there to Young Conservationist back home who wants to help the wildlife species of plants and animals of our world, and not only to protect them but to help them thrive.

Our Flagship initiative is the Sea Turtle Exhibition launched in Lagos on 5th November 2015. Others include advocacies, training, and conservation work around Vulture, Wildlife Rescue, Elephants, Pangolins, Lagos Lagoon and Environment days (Details Below).

The Aktionsgemeinschaft Artenschutz (AGA) e.V. (AGA), Germany supports me in the development of an environmental education program, by sponsoring for me a Nigerian version of their Sea Turtle education exhibition, as well as a children’s coloring book describing the adventures of a Sea Turtle. The children’s coloring book has aroused the interest of the children in these fascinating marine reptiles. We began to organize school visits, teachers have shown great interest, and many, many children have been enthusiastic about the protection of sea turtles in various schools in the last few months and we hope to extend this environmental education in schools to Communities, engage with them and start a sea turtle monitoring, conservation, rescue, rehabilitation and release work.

The most incredible thing, however, happened to me while we were preparing to Launch the Sea Turtle Exhibition Conservation Education in Lagos, Nigeria. I was confronted with a Live Sea turtle in trouble. It was being hawked for sale on the streets, as is the usual practice these days and it was injured. I just could not let it go. I have never seen a Sea turtle before, but I was already working to protect them based on a Video footage I saw on YouTube where Sea Turtle was being hawked on the streets of Lagos during the master’s course. That Master’s turned out to be the turning point in my life.

Coming face to face with a Sea Turtle for the very first time is the most profound encounter with Nature for me. This is the first time I was seeing a Sea Turtle in my over 40 years of life. With the benefit of hindsight, I would say the Sea Turtle found me. I had to purchase her from them against my belief that we shouldn’t be paying to rescue animals, but I had no other option at that point. The fact that sea turtles are offered for slaughter in the markets of the city of Lagos and the turtles’ eggs are plundered from the nests, has necessitated the need for me to research more on the detrimental threat of humans who intentionally harvests the eggs and adults from nesting beaches and juveniles and adults from foraging grounds for trade, food, and tourist amusement. We have extended the environmental education designed for schools to Communities, to engage with them and started a sea turtle monitoring, conservation, rescue, rehabilitation and release work.

I named that Sea Turtle I rescued ‘Ariyike’, meaning ‘See me and Care me’, in my Yoruba tribe Language of South West Nigeria. I saw it and cared for it. I have extended this meaning and adopted this creed to my environmental work. I believe people cannot love what they do not know. Knowing comes from seeing and experience.

This encounter led me to explore parts of the world where I could learn more about them in a different light. I travelled to several Sea Turtle Rehabilitation, hospital and conservation centres in the United States such as the Riverhead Foundation, Sea Turtle Hospital, Georgia’s Sea Turtle Centre in Jekyll’s Island, the South Carolina Sea Turtle Aquarium and Hospital and I went on to volunteer for 3 months at a Sea Turtle Project in Barbados. Now, in a Sea turtle project in Nigeria that we have called ‘Project Ariyike’.

It appears to me that coming face to face with rare and endangered species gives me the impetus to do something about them. The 1st time I set my eyes on a Black Rhino and Elephant too was in Spain during my master’s Study. Oh, mine. Seeing these animals is different from seeing them on Television. Tigers are Bigger than they appear on TV and Cheetahs are Longer and taller than they appear too. Growing up I have the opportunity of seeing some animals in the zoo. Need to mention here that I never had an opportunity to view Wildlife in the wild in Nigeria. It is not something we were socialized with by our parents. The only places they take us to grow up are the Zoo and to the Beachfront. As a Student of Zoology, we never had the opportunity too. The one time we were to visit Yankari game reserve in Northern Nigeria, security concerns did not allow us to go.

After the Spanish experience and coming face to face with Sea Turtle Ariyike that I rescued and with an opportunity to visit the United States, I decided to embark on an amazing journey to visit various Conservation Centres as much as I can in the United States. I called it Ariyike Tours. I went from visiting Various zoos to Aquariums and Natural Wildlife Preserves. It was an amazing experience.

Places I visited includes:

  1. New York, (New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Bronx Zoo, Riverhead Foundation Sea Turtle Hospital, Fireshore Island National Park and gave lectures to High School Students of Westport High School);
  2. Philadephia (Philadephia Zoo). This was where I saw Cheetahs for the first time;
  3. Florida (Wakiwa springs where they do Turtle Sampling, Dr. Peter Pritchard’s Chelonia Institute, meet with some renowned Hepatologists and members of the Turtle Survival Alliance);
  4. Georgia (Georgia Sea Turtle Centre, Jekyll’s Island, Charlie Elliot Wildlife Centre, Rum park Wildlife Resource Centre, Piedmont Park, Atlanta Zoo, Atlanta Aquarium and gave lectures to Elementary and High School students at the Jasper County);
  5. South Carolina (South Carolina Sea turtle hospital and the Aquarium and attended a plastic conference here).
  6. Las Vagas (Here I presented my accepted Abstract on Hunters to Conservationist, based on my work so far on Sea Turtles Education and Rescue in Nigeria and plans to begin a Sea turtle Nesting beach monitoring and protection); and
  7. Texas (I participated in March for Science here and attended a Conservation Expo).

I am about now embarking on another phase of Ariyike Tours. ‘Ariyike’ in the ‘Yoruba’ culture of ‘Nigeria’ means – See me and Care for me. This is a Travel and Tour initiative that brings the best of Conservation Centres in Nigeria to the rest of the World and vice versa infused with the Culture – food, art, music, stories, traditional and cultural places and experiences and the history of the peoples.

Ariyike Tour was inspired by the 1st Sea Turtle Rescued (See Featured Image) by our Founder, Felix Olusola Abayomi, as he set out on to answer the call of the Wild in Wildlife Conservation and building a Wildlife Friendly Generation. Ariyike Tours aim to build #WildlifeFriendly humanity and cultural interactions while showcasing our natural resources and biodiversity both here in Nigeria and in the United States.

We are using Sea Turtles as our Flagship Conservation action initiative being a Charismatic and Keystone species but working for all species in terms of either species based or ecosystem-based conservation approaches. We have now begun a Sea Turtle Monitoring and Conservation Project in Lagos, where we monitor various sea turtles’ activities along the beaches, conduct Community education and engagement. We are hoping to move the project to the next level of using Sea Turtle protection as a means of sustainable livelihoods, creating educational, health, agricultural and other opportunities to these community members that live closest to the wildlife and for other species.

Highlighted below are some of the initiatives we are working on as well:

  1. Advocacy for Elephants, Rhinos, and Lions by Joining the Global March for Elephants and Rhino Movement and organized the 1st march in Nigeria in 2006 and we have organizing marches every year since then;
  2. Advocacy with the World Animal Day; where we organized two events in 2016 by taking kids from an orphanage to a Children’s Park and zoo and encourage people to visit Lufasi Park, a privately-owned Nature park. In 2017 we had similar events at our WildlifeAID Centre in Ijebu-ode education children about the awesome life of Elephants, Rhinos and Sea turtles through short Videos.
  3. Vulture Conservation with the partnership of Vulpro, a leading Vulture Conservation organization in South Africa, where we have trained 2 Nigerian for a proposed conservation project in conjunction with Lufasi Park in Lagos.
  4. Wildlife Rescue training, to private rescue centers in Nigeria, Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release of Sea Turtles (Ongoing) and we are trying to rescue 5 Lions and one lonely Elephant from a government-owned institution in Nigeria.
  5. Wildlife Sightings initiatives from our various Conservation Centres in Nigeria. We have signed an agreement with a South African based Mobile App – ‘Latest Sightings’ to list 10 Nigerian Conservation centers. That has been done and we are starting the phase where we would begin to populate with pictures and videos
  6. Conservation excursions to various conservation centers;
  7. Private land Conservation for Sanctuaries, sustainable utilization, and tourism;
  8. We have Research works in the offing – Pangolins survey, mammalian inventory, Freshwater Turtles Survey, Sea turtles nesting survey and monitoring;
  9. Capacity building, attending symposiums, Conferences, networking and learning about various conservation works and models in other parts of the world; and
  10. Advocacy by celebrating all environment days.

We have also used Wildlife of Africa Conservation to join WaterKeeper Alliance®  as Lagos Lagoon Waterkeeper, focusing citizen action on issues that affect our waterways, from pollution to climate change and saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the society has right to swimmable, fishable and drinkable water by also preventing waste from getting to the water body especially plastics which affect both humans and Marine Animals such as Sea Turtles, which we are also working to Protect and Conserve in Lagos. Currently working on a Clean Lagos Lagoon Initiative.

Waterkeeper Alliance is a global movement uniting more than 300 Waterkeeper Organizations and Affiliates around the world. The Waterkeeper movement patrols and protects over 2.5 million square miles of rivers, lakes, and coastlines in the Americas, Europe, Australia, Asia, and Africa.

We basically work to help attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15. Thank you hope you enjoy my our Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative Conservation story so far. Please leave your comments and contact us for any questions.

 

  • Felix Olusola Abayomi is the Founder, Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI). A Zoologist, Wildlife Management, and Conservation of Species Professional. A USAID – WABiCC Trained CITES Expert. Member, Society for Conservation Biology and the International Sea Turtle Society. Alumni, of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Nigeria and Universidad De Internacional, Andalusia, Baeza, Spain, where he holds a Master’s Degree in
    Wildlife Management and Conservation of Species in Trade. He is looking forward to taking a Ph.D. Studies soon. He writes from Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria.
  • In the Profile Picture, he was at the Atlanta Zoological Garden, sitting in a Big Bird Nest, where he reminisced how the journey started for him

The monkey story

I should be where,
The roots are thick,
Where the leaves rustle,
And the trees form a canopy.

I should be where,
The birds’ tweet,
And the fruits hang low,
Where my family has always called home,

But, I am on a leash,
For leaping to play and for putting food away,
I get a spank,
For baring my teeth and unfurling my tail

I was a monkey before, before,
Until you made me into a pet,
Now, I am a monkey in a cage,
Now, I am a monkey in your face.

I long for your visit to the jungle,
Without your buckshot, your traps or your bulldozers,
I long for when you will mind your habitat,
And allow me mind mine.

So please leave me alone,
Let me chatter with glee,
Let me swing from tree to tree,
Let me live my life the monkey way.

This Prose was written by Sonia from Lagos to bring attention to Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus),  pictured in the featured Image.  They range throughout much of Southern and East Africa and listed Appendix II of CITES  (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). Hope you enjoyed it. Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

To learn more about monkeys conservation, visit https://www.monkeyworlds.com/monkey-conservation/

Sonia Ugwunna writes from Lagos, Nigeria

Email: soniaryde2000@gmail.com

Twitter: @soniaryde

MY THOUGHTS ON SDGs 14 and 15

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – also known as the Global Goals for Sustainable Development – are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. I herewith, share my concise thoughts on SDG 14: Life below water – To conserve and sustainably use the world’s oceans, seas and Marine Resources and  SDG 15: Life on land – To sustainably manage Forests, combat desertification, halt and reserve land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

KEY PROBLEMS:
a) Illiteracy and poverty of locals living beside forests and on water bodies:
i) Indiscriminate deforestation, hunting and fishing activities.
ii) Harmful waste practices
b) Government inaction and lack of commitment
c) Ignorance of the existence of such communities
d) Industrial activities

SOLUTIONS:
a) Education and Empowerment of the locals
b) Improved and efficiently monitored government policies
c) Identification and raising awareness of endangered lands and waters
d) Implementation of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)

WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE CAN DO TO HELP:

a) RESIDENTIAL WASTE MANAGEMENT
i) Create a website or an application or install a phone number for the recording, locating and tracking of disadvantaged places
ii) Liasoning with their legislators and governments to offer free waste management schemes
iii) Organize volunteers from nearby urban and suburban areas to engage in cleanup days, sensitization and as environmental officers.
iv) Request nearby industries and factories to provide waste collection bins and vehicles for the locals; siting of local recycling companies; and engaging locals in such jobs.
v) Writing to universities to allow students in environmental courses to earn coursework credit for engaging in such areas.

b) INDUSTRIAL WASTE AND ACTIVITIES:
Creation of environmental impact organizations that will:
i) focus on extended producer responsibility
ii) request that Nigerian companies calculate and publish their carbon footprints
iii) work with global environmental certification organizations for eco-certification training and recommending the purchase of eco-friendly products
iv) liaison with the federal and state ministries of the environment

 

Sonia Ugwunna writes from Lagos, Nigeria

Email: soniaryde2000@gmail.com

Twitter: @soniaryde

Global March for Elephants Rhinos March Report 2017

From #Akure to #IjebuOde from October 4 – October 7 we held a 4-day long advocacy for Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Sea Turtles and other Endangered Species during the World Animal Day with the Theme of Living in Harmony with our Wildlife to ensure their Continued Survival.

In Akure, Nigeria, Our #TeanWildlifeAfrica members: Joshua Aribasoye and Okerinu Paul, together with other Volunteers took the campaign to the streets, Motor parks and even to lecture halls of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State. Needful to say that We have unverified sightings of Forest Elephants in parts of Ondo State. We are working now to confirm this and we took this proactive step to sensitize the people on Living in Harmony with Elephants and also to work for their Protection from Poachers as a Community. We as a community must protect our heritage. 

In Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria at the WildlifeAID Centre – Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative on the First day of our 4 Day Long event to mark this Year’s #WorldAnimalDay, (which was October 4 precisely), we had a group of students from the Adeola Odutalo College comes in for the Exhibitions (#Elephant#Rhinoand #SeaTurtle Education Exhibition) in a bid to educated our people and for them to love Wildlife.  We want to get this exhibition to at least 50 schools in the first instance and not wait for them to come to us. Please to support our founder’s (Felix Olusola Abayomi) funding campaign here and Donate – https://www.gofundme.com/awesome-elephants-education-exhibit 

On Day 2 of the #WorldAnimalDay, the Students made Art Work presentations. Please view the pictures of the artworks and photographs that they presented. We need to encourage these young talents. They told me they feel a connection to Elephants, Rhinos,  Lions and Sea Turtles even without having seen them with this year’s Global March. We have hope. These kids expressed themselves in artwork and we were blown away. They have graciously added these works to our Education Exhibition. We have to find a way to support these young talents. They produced these works unassisted to express themselves on Living in Harmony with Elephants, Rhinos Lions, Sea Turtles and other Endangered Species.

We showed these kids our videos of #Ariyike the Sea Turtle rescue and her journey home and several footages we came back with from Barbados that no one has seen an amazing WILD AID Education Footages on why we need to protect our Elephants, Rhinos and Pangolins. They were marvelled We also gave them the Storied Colouring book of the Sea turtle named ‘Lucky’ provided by Aktionsgemeinschaft Artenschutz (AGA) e.V.. We have a Team Turtle game by MEDASSET-Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles we could have introduced to them but these kids don’t have access to a smartphone or Internet. So we are thinking, we might have to create an opportunity for them to come to the WildlifeAID Centre – Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative and play the Team Turtle game at their leisure time. They were however treated to our small and upcoming library.

 On Day 3 of the #WorldAnimalDay, – we had a Lawn Tennis Coaching Clinic for some of the Kids. They Played for Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Sea turtles and other Endangered Species to create Awareness on their survival and living in Harmony with them. We have decided to form these Children into #TeamWildlifeAfrica #lawntennis team to specifically use sports to create awareness for Wildlife of Africa Survival and Living in Harmony with them. We shall mentor them, train them and start entering them into competitions as opportunities present itself. Watch out for them in days to come in your local sports event.
On Day 4, the 7th of October, the D-day of the #WorldAnimalDay, we marched to also coincide with the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (#GMFER2017) advocacy event. As few as our Elephants, Rhinos, Lions and other Endangered Species are, we also marched to create awareness for our Species Survival and Living in Harmony with them. We Marched for #Justice4Wildlife, for #Justice4All and for #JusticeForHumansandNonhumans. The highpoint of the day for us was the surprise expressed by the generality of people we interacted with that there is a group speaking for Animal Rights in Nigeria. Yes, we are here. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a step. We have taken that step, together with these amazing and talented youngsters. They took out time to display their artwork too during the March. We believe in the power of “1”. One convert at a time.
We say a very big thank you to our volunteers, with a special tribute to our youngsters. They were phenomenal. #WorldAnimalDay, #Nigeria is a success.
Now, the real work begins. We must not be tired or relent in our efforts at a Sustained Wildlife Education to inspire a whole new Wildlife Friendly Generation. Please support our campaign and make your donation to help us achieve our set goal and objective. Thank you

Community Engagement for Sea Turtles and Clean Lagos Lagoon

Lagos lagoon is a major water body in the Lagos metropolis which impacts significantly on the lives of the Lagosians enormously. It is used primarily for fishing, aquaculture, sand mining and recreation activities.
 
In line with the mandate of the Waterkeeper Alliance of ensuring the society has right to swimmable, fishable and drinkable water, we have began a community engagement series with our Ariyike Sea Turtle Monitoring and Conservation project to educate the Coastal communities around the Lagoon whose livelihoods depend on Fishing that there continued livelihoods are directly linked to the continued existence of Sea Turtles in the waters.
 
The Fishermen have been recording high numbers of Jelly Fish in their catch and they go several days without a catch. This has further aggravated the Human-Wildlife Conflict between the fishing communities and the sea turtles. Every single sea turtles coming to nest has a potential of been poached for food and for income. Even those caught in fisheries bycatch are not spared as fishermen sell the turtles who breaks their nets to get money to repair them.
 
We have begun to make some progress but we need to do more and we need to train these disadvantage people with alternative income, educational and health opportunities through training, tourism and direct conditional cash transfers to improve their lives. We would be sharing information on steps we are taking but we need take urgent actions as the Sea Turtles will continue to come to our Shores, the people will continue to hunt them not because they want to (at least not all of them) but because they have to.
 
The Lagos Lagoon cuts across the southern part of the metropolis, linking the Atlantic Ocean (in the west and south) and Lekki Lagoon (in the east). It is about 6354.708 sq km in area and 285 km in perimeter. The Lagos Lagoon consists of three main segments such as Lagos harbour, the metropolitan end and Epe division segments. We have a lot of ground to cover. As we deal with the Sea Turtle hunting, we also have to educate the communities on waste management and pollution.
 
As of today, we have trained and empowered 10 local community members as Volunteer Sea Turtle Guardians, paying them a small stipend to make the protection and conservation of the Wildlife resources and the Lagoon environment a community lead action program. These are people who are hitherto hunters and gatherers of Sea Turtle eggs, nesting females and those caught in the fisheries bycatch. We would love to train and empower more local volunteers to not only become Sea Turtles Guardians but also advocates of a Clean Lagos Lagoon.
We plan to infuse our Ariyike Sea Turtle Monitoring Project, the Clean Lagos Lagoon Initiative of the Lagos Lagoon Waterkeeper and Ariyike Tours to deliver an amazing tripartite solution to turn Hunters and Polluters into Conservationists and Environmental Guardians respectively.  This is our long-term strategic plan.
 

EVENT TICKETS

 

Sea Turtle Exhibition Education

Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative Sea Turtle Exhibition Education is designed for  School Children of Primary and Secondary School age. Our team would like to come to your school to educate the pupils on Sea turtles and other Endangered Animals such as Elephant conservation and how to secure the future of our wildlife for the coming generation through our Education Exhibition, book reading and multimedia tools.

In view of this, we would like you to give us a date and time to visit your school. Please kindly fill the form below and Please feel free to contact us by phone (+2348179453143) or email info@wildlifeafrica.org  if you have any questions or clarifications.

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This is supported by Artenschutz (AGA) eV, who produced the Exhibition and a Coloring book of a Sea Turtle named Lucky that we gift young children who participate in the exhibition.

 

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival

Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI) is in an exclusive, partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival Inc. (WCFF – only Film Festival dedicated to Wildlife in the World) with the purpose of conducting wildlife films, photography workshops, training and films screening in Nigeria.

WACI, in conjunction with the WCFF., brings a 10-day workshop to teach Wildlife Photography and Wildlife filmmaker techniques in Nigeria. The training will include practical sessions and free film screening to members of the Nigerian Public, government officials and Students within the period of the Workshop and after. Contact us via info@wildlifeafrica.org for partnership and sponsorship considerations.

To Register/Participate/Partner/Sponsor  Please fill relevant sections of the Form below:

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Facility Tour of VisionScape Epe Eco Park (Landfill Site)

  • Lagos Lagoon Waterkeeper posted photos from a facility tour of the landfill and Ecopark in Epe where there is a concern for a waterbody that communities depend on.

We went on a facility tour of the #EpeEcoPark of #CleanerLagosInitiative with other environmental advocates and stakeholders in Lagos. Of concern is the waterbody behind that site and the groundwater local communities depend on. We urged the Visionscape officials to continue frequent water tests to ensure they remain in safe levels. We would be monitoring this with you in line with our #CleanLagosLagoon Initiative and follow your progress with our Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative #SeaTurtle ‘Ariyike’ monitoring and conservation in the Marine Waste Collection aspects as plastics wastes in water kill endangered Sea Turtles and other Marine Animals.