Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative (WACI) in conjunction with Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Wildlife Park organized a webinar themed “We are part of the solution” to celebrate this auspicious day.
The program commenced with a concise overview of IDBD from Adeyinka Mary, Executive Director of WACI elucidating on the challenges biological diversities are facing all accentuating to anthropogenic activities and emphasized on the need to conserve flora and fauna species.
Adenike Adeiga, The Group Managing Director of WACI further highlighted the vision and mission of WACI, and her effective collaborations with other NGO to achieve her goals. Thereafter, she remarked the various ongoing projects WACI and her Lagos Lagoon WaterKeeper is working on ranging from project Ariyike, Pangolin Project, Borehole donation Project, Vulture Project, Manatee Project amongst others. She ended by emphasizing that ‘ Preservation of Biodiversity brings us many steps to sustainable living as humans’.
The ex-president for Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) who was present at the webinar encouraged the audience in his words “Every individual and organization represented should continue to lend their voice and spread the message to all of the need to protect our biodiversity especially during this decade of ecosystem restoration 2021-2030. Be rest assured, I’m committed to lending my support to actions and decisions that will promote the restoration and recovery of our biodiversity from the brink of extinction. I’m Olusegun Obasanjo and I’m part of the solution for nature” charged everyone to be biodiversity advocates.
Other keynotes speakers includes Conservator General of the Nigerian National Park Service, Dr. Goni Ibrahim, and Prof. Olajumoke Morenikeji, chair of Pangolin Conservation Guild Nigeria; all gave their opening remarks while they expressed their joy for the essence of such an event, and they promised to give more support to foster biodiversity conservation in Nigeria.
The webinar featured two technical presentations. The first was presentation by Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikosuka, the Chief Executive Officer of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH). In her words, “High population growth contributes significantly to habitat loss and deforestation which exposes wildlife to human activities i.e. poaching, logging that are inimical to the sustainability of great apes and biodiversity. Until we can address trigger issues such as poverty, poor health, wellbeing of support communities, it is very hard to conserve biodiversity”, CTPH works earnestly to ensure Gorilla conservation in Uganda. The second presenter; Mr. Damilare Ajayi, Curator of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Wildlife Park shared anecdotal and empirical result that reveals the contribution of Ex-Situ Conservation site towards biological diversity conservation in Nigeria.
Felix Abayomi also gave credence to the importance of celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity. His passion spurred him to establish Wildlife of Africa Conservation Initiative. An NGO dedicated to change wildlife conservation narrative in Africa and beyond. While he expressed what triggered his interest and motivation towards wildlife conservation. He also mentioned some of the effort that WACI has put in place to advocate for wildlife conservation through research, and sponsoring of research project. He celebrated our Ex-President as the Father of conservation in Africa, highlighted his contributions to Nigeria’s biodiversity conservation including creation of the first national park, registration of Nigeria under CITES amongst other. The efforts of Dr. Goni Ibrahim and Prof Olajumoke towards flora and fauna conservation in Nigeria were all acknowledged.
The event was brought to close by Dr. Stella Egbe, the Chief Executive Officer of WACI with an outstanding remarks. In her words, “The life quality of supporting community’s zones can be upgraded and made better in tandem with biodiversity conservation; creating support for indigent communities is very vital in making conservation process successful”. There were a total number of 104 participants in the International Day for Biological Diversity Day webinar. We are delighted we joined the rest of the world to raise awareness on conservation needs of Biodiversity and that we are indeed part of the solution.