Dr. Mark Ofua, a veterinary doctor, has explained how the nonchalant attitude of Nigerians towards the wild animals in our ecosystem is affecting the animals in this part of the world. In an interview with Legit.ng, he revealed how he has been able to help some of the animals often targeted as bush meat.
The veterinary doctor took his time to explain how the actions of many hunters in Nigeria are affecting the availability of some animals. According to him, some animals are endangered, threatened while some are on the verge of extinction.
He stated that many Nigerians do not know what it means to conserve the ecological space of these animals as they consider all animals to be bush meat. Some animals are not to be killed or eaten as far as he is concerned. He laid emphasis on what it means to preserve some species of animals so that they will not go into extinction.
Ofua, during his discussion with Legit.ng, said that he works basically with hunters and bush meat traders. He encourages them to notify him when an animal gets caught. He is also to be told if the animal is injured and may need urgent medical attention.
After this, he rehabilitates the animals and ensures they are well looked after. According to him, some of the identified animals that are endangered are then taken to the Lekki Conservative Centre where he is sure the animals cannot be preyed upon. This reduces the chances of the animals being hunted or killed.
The veterinary doctor further explained that taking care of the wild animals leave an imprint on them as they end up getting familiar with their care givers. When such animals are nurtured back to life, they cannot be taken back to the wild as they may not survive there anymore.
This is because the adrenaline in the animals either make them fight or take flight upon sighting anyone they sense may harm them. After being domesticated for a while during the process of healing, they lose touch with the wild. Animals like these are kept within his premises. Some sanctuaries also come for some of the animals. He revealed that there are about four sanctuaries in Lagos.
Dr. Ofua said when animals are being preserved, it could be a form of tourist attraction. He said he is likely to become a vegetarian at the long run as he feels guilty about eating the meat from some of these animals. He said he cannot eat any of the animals he has given shelter to.
He took our correspondent through the shelter as he showed off some of the animals in his keep. The animals have been given pet names even though the scars on some of them make it easier for them to be identified.
Dr. Ofua who described himself as a wildlife conservationist and enthusiast implored Nigerians to stay off some of these animals as there is a need for them to be protected. He stated that killing them upsets the ecological balance as they have a role to play in the ecosystem as well.
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